Luscious Strawberries Alert!

Now I love Aldi’s, but I have never shopped at the very same Aldi’s twice on the same day to buy the very same thing I purchased just a few hours before! When I found a lb of luscious strawberries at only $1.29 per lb, I had to go back and get some more…..now I was on a mission! But it was past 5pm….I rushed in to the produce section to be shocked at seeing only a few boxes left….picked up 3 more and ran home, and began a new style of all-purpose strawberry sauce!

These strawberries were large, bright red, and just gorgeous, besides sweet and delicious. I rinsed and chopped them, and into a large pot they went, with two tablespoons of Swerve, one shot of Bullet bourbon, and the juice of one lemon.

I cooked them for about two hours and let the strawberries cool, before I poured the mix into a blender and returned it to the pot, so it could continue cooking until the liquid had a thicker consistency.  Then it was poured into a glass mason jar, sealed, and placed in the fridge.  I can’t wait to use this sauce this coming weekend…..will continue adventurizing with strawberries and report the next new “strawberry” concoction…..

I loved chopping the strawberries and laying them on a plate….they were so very pretty, bright red, and juicy, I couldn’t help but taste a few, as I continued chopping. It was apropos to think through how our amazing Creator created such diversity in the fruits and vegetables that we can consume! I am ever so grateful to have such a myriad of varieties to try, and cook with. It also brought to mind Psalm 139, which speaks how we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, each unique slice reminding me how they had some similarities but each was unique in its own special way, just like the way that God chose to create you and me. Together, we are part of this enormous melting pot of people from every corner of the earth.

Melting pot……that brought about thoughts of chocolate…melting chocolate and dipping strawberries……might just have to tweak that thought tomorrow and try elevating the flavors this weekend…..stay tuned!

Pesto-Salmon with Quinoa-Cole Slaw

After a day of working and errands, I wanted a healthy dinner, so I slathered pesto on top of a nice piece of salmon and cooked it stovetop, and used leftovers to create a quinoa cole slaw with cherry tomatoes, with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and just a light teaspoon of Italian dressing and voila! A delicious and fulfilling meal….and super fast too! Came together in about 20 minutes, max! These are the kinds of meals I love to make…..

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A Multi-Green Mid-Saturday Smoothie…

Saturday morning is the time for me to run errands and pick up ingredients for the following week, so off I took for Aldi’s and Publix. I picked up quite a bit of greens, so once I got home I took out a few leftover items which made it into this new “multi-green mid-day fulfilling smoothie”!

Wondering what’s in it? Here goes!

1/2 ripe avocado

1/2 cup of freshly squeezed blood red orange juice

1 cup of chopped pineapple

a handful of mixed greens

1 stalk of celery

3 strawberries

4 ice cubes

I was surprised how good this tasted. I am not so celery minded but one stalk was good enough for this mix.

What is your preferred mid-day snack?

 

Avocado Heaven – Practicing for 5 de Mayo!

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What to do with avocadoes which have all ripened to full maturity? This guacamole is flavorful and delicious!

3 avocadoes

4 freshly squeezed limes

freshly squeezed lemon juice from one large lemon

1 chopped large red onion

1 chopped large tomato

sea salt

freshly peppercorn

This is the fastest and easiest meal, yes, meal, that you can put together. In an aluminum bowl I placed the avocadoes, chopped onion and tomato, and then the fresh lime and lemon juice, sea salt and pepper….mix is thoroughly and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes unless you are serving it as soon as it is made.

I use Live G Free (gluten free) brown rice crackers, sweet chili flavored. The burst of fresh and sweet chili flavors with the guacamole is delicious, and quite filling.

This is a wonderful appetizer to share with friends….or have yourself as an entire meal.

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Easter Cupcakes…with Garbanzo Bean Flour!

20200412_124752Easter denotes goodies, aka chocolate and candy! That meant I needed to see what I had available in my cupboards, so off I took in adventurous mode through the fridge to see what I could find.

What if I used garbanzo bean flour in cupcakes? What would that taste like? I took a risk in mixing one cup of garbanzo flour with all purpose flour, including the regular baking powder and baking soda, salt, and decided to use 3/4 cup of Swerve, a sugar replacement that measures like sugar, instead of white sugar.

I found I had 1/2 papaya and 2 pieces of mango, which I liquified with a cup of water. In a separate bowl, 3 eggs were beaten with the Swerve, and about 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil.  I added the fruit mixture and mixed well. Then the dry ingredients were beaten in 3 separate batches with the wet ingredients until everything was well integrated.  The cupcake molds were filled with a large heaping tablespoon of the mixture, and in they went in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  When I heard the timer, I rushed to the kitchen and took them out of the oven.

They glowed in their toasty exterior. I waited till they weren’t piping hot before taking one out and cutting it to see how they baked. And took a bite. Waited a second, took another bite, and thought….these are good! They are not overly sweet, and the garbanzo bean flour definitely adds lots of fiber – had I just used the garbanzo bean flour, the cupcakes would have been gluten free! Check out Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground Garbanzo Bean Flour in your local supermarket. I found mine in my neighborhood Publix. The 1 lb bag was very inexpensive, and a great buy. Swerve is also available in Publix and at Whole Foods.

I wasn’t planning on making chocolate ganache, but because the cupcakes were not very sweet, I melted a large dark chocolate bar and a bag of Trader Joe’s chocolate chips in 1/3 cup of almond milk.  And voila! After finding green and pink sprinkles and a few chocolate covered almonds, used them in a fun presentation as this year’s Easter Cupcakes! And yes, they were delicious…..I think I might still have one left to enjoy today.

What a Morning!

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I wonder how the morning woke up the day of the Resurrection….

Was it with the chirping of the birds?

Or the faint hue on the horizon of the glory that would soon be displayed?

I hear each bird calling out to another, as if to say,

It’s a New Day Dawning! Wake up….

Looking off into the horizon I see the faint colors of daybreak,

as the morning clears its eyes, stretches through the skyline

to greet a new day, a special day.

You see, many years ago today

Jesus Christ came back.

He said, in Matthew 12:40

“For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”

But He rose again!

Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him – but some of them doubted!

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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God is with you, just as He is with me.

As the famous hymn says,

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

look full in His wonderful face,

and the things of earth will grow strangely dim

in the light of His glory and grace.”

Happy Easter Sunday!

Easter Weekend Baking – Garbanzo flour et al!

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Baking makes me happy and it’s Easter weekend, so it’s time for Celebrating, even though we’re doing it at a distance…

I started my morning by going to Wal-Mart. I thought it was going to be easy to walk in, get the ingredients I needed, come home and bake to my heart’s content, but I was surprised to see that there was quite a long line outside the store, while a security guard allowed people in, as others walked out with their groceries. It’s the new normal….

Having not made banana bread in quite a while, I decided to make two different kinds, so I put a “secret ingredient” in one of the banana breads with walnuts; the second banana bread has macadamia nuts and chocolate chips….can’t wait to try a little piece of both.

Then while the banana breads were baking, I thought why not make the black bean brownies once again? Super easy, fast and pretty nutritious, as there is no flour involved, I whipped up the ingredients in the food processor, and when I took out the banana breads out of the oven, in went the black bean brownies for a mere 18 minutes.

In the meantime, put clothes to wash….yes, it’s a busy Saturday. Then thought…..it would be great to have some homemade cookies, as I haven’t made oatmeal cookies in such a long time, so rummaging through my cupboards, came up with a new recipe using 3 different kinds of flours. For the very first time, I used 1/2 cup of garbanzo bean flour, alongside 1/2 cup of apf and 1/2 cup of coconut flour, and 1 tablespoon of arrowroot to the dry ingredients.  Found a bag of orange infused cranberries, leftover walnuts, which I crushed into small pieces with the can of black beans, and put it all together, and if I say so myself, turned out pretty good! These cookies do have gluten but on a much lower scale had I just used all purpose flour. Definitely putting this recipe in the cookbook!

Happy Easter…can’t wait to cook Easter dinner tomorrow!

Saturday Brunch….all about the greens and fruits in the fridge!

It’s Saturday morning and I woke up with lots of energy, so I started cleaning, organizing, and washing clothes….then at the first promptings of hunger, went to the kitchen and decided to make my crust-less green veggie mini quiches, while waiting for the washer and dryer to finish its work.

What exactly did I put in these mini green wonders? Everything but the kitchen sink! In true fashion, it’s all about what you have handy.

  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 10 oz. box of frozen chopped spinach (easier than chopping fresh spinach any day!)
  • 6 finely chopped portabella mushrooms
  • about a cup of chopped fresh broccoli
  • Italian sea salt and freshly grated black peppercorn
  • a handful of frozen peas

How does this start? I begin by cooking the onion with a dash of sea salt and freshly grated black peppercorn, while the frozen spinach cooks.  Once the spinach is done, I drain it and add it to the onion and allow it to mingle, while adding in the fresh broccoli and portabella mushrooms.  I let it cook for about 2 minutes or so, until the broccoli starts turning that bright beautiful green color, and turn off the heat.

In two separate bowls, I add

  • 4 beaten eggs
  • at least 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup organic shredded cheese (whatever kind you have in your fridge)
  • and then I choose one bowl into which I add bacon bits and more cheese, while in the other bowl, it has more veggies than the egg and milk mixture.

Then using a cupcake pan, with a large spoon, I fill them up to a little over brimming, as when this cooks, it will decrease in size as the eggs cook.  It’s good to leave them in a 350 degree oven for at least a good 45 minutes, so that it’s well done and not runny.

I typically take it out of the oven and choose to wait at least a good 15 minutes, as when it’s just taken out, it’s piping hot and will disintegrate should you choose at that time to unmold them. I use a knife to first cut around and then a nice large spoon to take them out.

The day before I had gone to my neighborhood Aldi’s, and saw that the nearby French bakery, Bonjour! was open…..so after loading the car with my groceries, I ran over to see what they had….and ended up purchasing two amazingly decadent French croissants….yes, totally decadent.

So once the mini quiches were not as hot, I sliced a croissant and in went a mini quiche, creating a new style of breakfast sandwich, which was gone in just a few minutes.

The pleasure of not having to run out the door for errands led me to take my time and get creative with the fruits at hand, so I cut up a large kiwi, sliced strawberries, and created mini skewers with red grapes and fresh pineapple pieces.

End result? A delicious brunch, with plenty of leftovers – as you will have at least a dozen mini individual quiches that you can eat as a snack, as a meal with a side salad, with fruit, or use any bread to create a sandwich, or eat them as is, either hot or cold.  I love having these, as it’s a super fast meal to put together any time.

I hope you will make these for you and your family.  They are a treat, as you’re having a meal which is healthy (healthier if you leave out the croissant, of course!) and very filling.

Have a great Saturday!

 

Friday Craving: Turkey-Black Bean & Plantain Burger!

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I had a craving for a burger, so I went scavenging in the fridge, and what did I find? Ground turkey! Yes, I made my own version of a “Cuban burger” with ground turkey, black beans and leftover plantains.

Rummaging in my pantry, out came a can of organic black beans from Trader Joe’s that were rinsed, and chopped the remaining pieces of plantains from my Pollo Tropical order of the week…..and incorporated it together with the ground turkey.  Can I tell you how simple, delicious and quick this was? With a generous side of  Aldi’s Asian salad, this was my yummy dinner for tonight.

What did you have for dinner?

Stay tuned for this weekends upcoming recipes…….