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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Light & Delicious Spring Salad

Recently, we've discovered pea shoots and how very much we all love them.  They're one of the few salad-type greens that all three of my kids love and devour without complaint!  They eat them plain like they'd eat sugar snap peas. We've been finding fresh pea shoots and alfalfa sprouts (and other sprouts!) at the local farmer's market for the past month or so, although I think we may have to try growing some ourselves sometime soon.  Everything in this salad except the avocado was grown locally!  Such a delicious blend of early summer goodness with a dash of flavorful balsamic & olive oil on top.  Enjoy!
Spring Salad packed with pea shoots and alfalfa sprouts! 

Light & Delicious Spring Salad

Prepare salad with the following: (feel free to add other ingredients, if desired)
baby spinach
pea shoots, rinsed & dried
alfalfa sprouts, rinsed & dried
avocado, diced
yellow tomatoes, diced
green peppers, diced
herb goat cheese, crumbled

Drizzle overtop, or mix together in a small bowl and then drizzle overtop:
ginger-blackberry balsamic vinegar*
olive oil

If desired, you could add fresh or dried fruits like pear, apple, or cranberries.  Pecan nuts would taste nice with this salad.  You could also add grilled shrimp, grilled chicken, or black beans on top for extra protein.


*Flavor-infused balsamic vinegar & olive oil are becoming more widely available.  I found mine locally at Liquid Gold olive oils & vinegars in downtown Charlottetown. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Homemade Peach Salsa (mild, medium & hot options)

This is a wonderfully delicious peach salsa my friend Julie and I make each year.  I've included a mini-batch measurement below, in case you want to just cook some up to pop into the refrigerator to enjoy.  And I've included a larger batch below.  Everyone who's eaten it likes it so much, when we make peach salsa we tend to make a day of it and whip up a lot of batches of the large batch listed below so we have plenty to share with friends.  I've included a picture at the end of what our fall peach salsa making day looked.  We're the first to admit we may have a problem.   I'm happily supplying this recipe as requested by some church friends.  We love peach salsa with tortilla chips or on extreme nachos or homemade tacos.  Enjoy!!!

Fresh, hot peach salsa.  Using red cayenne and scotchbonnet peppers will give a more red overall salsa.  The green jalapenos will give a more orange color to your salsa. 

Homemade Peach Salsa
Make a mini or large batch - both recipes are listed below:

A few notes before you get started:

1. Use ripe peaches.  Under-ripe will lack the sweetness.  Over-ripe will be difficult to work with.  Perfectly ripe peaches can be peeled quickly with a veggie peeler and dice neatly and quickly in the food processor.  You can use the food processor to chop the onions, red peppers, and hot peppers, too!

2. Options for adjusting the spice-level are listed in each recipe.  You can adjust by altering type and amounts of hot peppers used - described in each recipe where it lists jalapenos.  You can also lower the amount of ground cayenne pepper used, although I'd recommend keeping at least 1/2 the recommended amount since you want a little spice to counter the sweetness of the peaches.

MINI Batch of Peach Salsa: 
Makes ~2.5-3 500 ml jars of salsa (~5-6 cups salsa)

Prepare the following fruits, vegetables and herbs and mix together in a medium-sized pot:
3-4 lbs ripe peaches (peel with veggie peeler, remove pit, and chopped fine to medium-fine in a food processor)
1 1/4 cups red onion, chopped (about 3-4 red onions)
4 jalapenos, finely chopped (mild - remove seeds for very mild salsa) OR 1/2 scotch bonnet, finely chopped (medium) OR (1 scotchbonnet + 1-2 cayenne pepper, finely chopped) (hot)
1 red peppers, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped & loosely packed
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (less, if you prefer less spicy salsa)

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly. (If you want to process your jars, boil 5 minutes and proceed as instructed in the large batch recipe, below).  For a refrigerator batch, boil salsa 10-15 minutes. You can lower the heat a bit while this is cooking if it's boiling too much.  Remove from heat.  Cool and store in the refrigerator.  Best enjoyed within 1-2 weeks.

LARGE Batch of Peach Salsa - to can in glass jars
Makes about 8-9 500 ml jars of salsa (~16-18 cups)

Prepare the following fruits, vegetables and herbs and mix together in a large pot:
~10 lbs ripe peaches (peel with veggie peeler, pitted, and chopped fine to medium-fine in a food processor)
3 3/4 cups red onion, chopped (about 3-4 red onions)
12 jalapenos, finely chopped (mild - remove seeds for very mild salsa) OR 1 scotch bonnet + 1-2 cayenne peppers, finely chopped (medium) OR (3 scotch bonnets + 3-4 cayenne peppers, finely chopped) (hot)
3 red peppers, chopped
3/4 - 1 cup cilantro, chopped & loosely packed
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
6 Tbsp honey
3-4 tsp minced garlic
4 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (less, if you prefer less spicy salsa)

Cook in very large pot over medium-high heat, stirring regularly until salsa mixture comes to a boil.  Boil 5 minutes.  Can in hot, prepared 500 ml glass jars.  Water bath jars for 10 minutes to process.  Pull out of the boiling water.  Let rest 5-10 minutes before removing to a table to fully cool.  Store jars in a cool, dry location (like you would other canned items).

Peach Salsa!!!  Mild, Medium, & Hot.  We like peach salsa just a little bit. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Homemade Oreos!!!

These were such a hit, we've made them several times since!  You can leave them plain or sprinkle the edges with holiday sprinkles.  Perhaps green for St. Patty's Day this week?!   If you cook them less, they'll be nice and soft.  But you can cook them a little longer to get the nice, crunchy Oreo cookie taste, too!  Enjoy!!!
Gluten-Free Homemade Oreo Cookies!!! 

Homemade Oreos!!!
Makes ~ 14 oreos (it really depends on the size of cookie you make)

Mix together in a small bowl:
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used a light Dutch Barry Callebaut cocoa powder)
1 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Beat in a mixer:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Add to butter/sugar:
1/2 egg, mixed (mix up 1 egg, then pour about half into the batter, or just double the recipe)
1 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, just until thoroughly combined.

Scoop small 1-2 tsp sized scoops onto parchment paper or silicon-lined baking pan.
Flatten with a piece of plastic wrap oven your hand (or the bottom of a glass).
Scoop small cookies on your prepared tray and flatten. 

Bake cookies at 375 F for about 6-8 minutes.  Less time will give a chewy cookie, more time will let the cookie crisp up nicely.  Just don't let them cook too long or they'll burn!
Let cool and then fill with frosting! 

Let cool on a cooling rack.  Fill cookies with my favorite Marshmallow Frosting recipe.  Roll in coarse sugar or sprinkles, if desired.   These store nicely in a tupperware.
Pink sprinkles requested by my daughter.
One happy son helping decorate Valentine's cookies. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Delicious Peanut Butter Granola Bars

These delicious Peanut Butter Granola Bars have had rave reviews from all family and friends who have tried them.   They are SO easy to whip together, too! They're a wonderful mix of toasted oats & seeds and peanut butter & honey.   They're great for school or to bring to work.   They have a lovely mix of salty and sweet, which is delicious in a granola bar.  The freshness will make you never again want to eat a store-bought bar.  Enjoy!
Wonderful, creamy, nutty, peanut butter granola bars! 

Delicious Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Makes one 8" x 8" pan.  Serves ~12

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Mix together in a large bowl:
2 1/2 cup large rolled oats (use gluten-free if Celiac or sensitive)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 tsp salt
4 Tbsp oil (I used Canola oil)

Spread onto an unlined cookie/baking sheet.
Oats & seeds ready to toast lightly in the oven! 

Bake at 325 F for about 15 - 20 minutes, until just starting to brown.  Remove pan to cooling rack.  (You don't need to let these cool.  Just mix the following together after you remove the oats/seeds from the oven).

Mix together in a large bowl (you can use the same bowl as before):
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter *
1/4 honey
1/4 cup agave nectar

Add and mix thoroughly:
Oven-roasted oats/pumpkin seeds/sunflower seeds, from above

Press into an 8" x 8" pan lined with aluminum foil.
Bars before covering/pressing down with plastic wrap.

Press top of bars down with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate, covered by plastic wrap, at least 4 hours until cool.  Slice and wrap individually, if desired.  Store a couple weeks in the refrigerator, slicing off pieces as you want.  Or, you can slice and freeze individual pieces for later!

* I used Skippy Brand creamy peanut butter.  I do find different brands of peanut butter have different tastes, and this is one of our favorite types - although we like the natural butters a lot, too! 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Gluten-Free Hearty Crepes (with Buckwheat Flour)

A wonderful, delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner!  We love crepes around here!  The combination of flours I've used here work really well together.  The addition of rich buckwheat flavor in combination with other flours gives a hearty taste without seeming overwhelming.  I've made crepes using all or mostly all buckwheat flour before, and they're nice with savory fillings, but the flavor tends to be a bit too strong for my preference.  Dinner guests had rave reviews for these crepes, too! The crepes even worked well using them in lieu of tortillas and whipping up quesadillas for the kids.  They were terrific!  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Hearty Crepes!
Hearty Gluten-Free Crepes with buckwheat flour! 

Gluten-Free Hearty Crepes
Makes 24

Heat crepe pan over medium-high heat.  I use it to melt the butter.

Blend together until smooth. I use a stick blender.
4 eggs
2 cups milk
2/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup buckwheat
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsp melted butter

Add about 1/4 - 1/3 cup batter to pan, swirling so it spreads evenly and thinly over crepe pan.   Cook until it looks dried on one side. Flip and cook briefly on the other side until crepe is fully finished.  Slide onto a plate and repeat with remaining batter, stacking crepes directly on top of one another until done.

Serve with sweet or savory fillings.  My kids love them with nutella, banana and whipped cream after they've had their savory-filled crepe.  One savory crepe idea is shown below. Enjoy!
Throw some sharp cheddar, cooked chicken, and roasted veggies inside a crepe and heat for a delicious sandwich! 
A hearty crepe filled with roasted veggies, meat & cheese served along with salad for a full meal.