Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week 55: Jalapeños!

We have some beautiful looking jalapeño's growing in our garden right now!  I have 5 still sitting in my fridge, so I have to make some serious salsa this week and break out my favorite Mexican cook book, 1000 Mexican Recipes by Marge Poore to be inspired!

One of our first jalapeños from our cul-de-sac garden!  

Weekly Menu #55:

Sunday - Rotisserie chicken (this is becoming a pattern), green beans, roasted cauliflower
Monday - Angel hair pasta, pasta sauce with ground beef, zucchini noodles, asparagus
Tuesday - Pork sirloin roast, green beans, roasted potatoes & sweet potatoes
Wednesday - Out to dinner
Thursday - Beef tacos (didn't get to these last week. . . )
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Grilled salmon, mango salsa, yellow rice and some veggie. . . 

Have a great week, everyone!  Eat well!  :)


Gluten-Free Brownies

OMG!  These are way better than I ever imagined they could be!  I have a friend who recently found out she cannot tolerate gluten and dairy.  We are going to her house tonight and I've been itching to try a GF recipe for her.  I bought a bunch of ingredients to make my own all-purpose GF flour a month ago, so I finally had the opportunity to make it for these brownies!

Let me just say that I LOVE!  They really do have amazing flour and amazing recipes!  I go there time and time again for great recipes, so I found a recipe for the GF flour and these brownies with great reviews!  As I've mentioned before, I really love fudge brownies.  When I first started baking back in High School, I always opted for cake-like brownies, but my tastes have changed as I've 'aged.'  Although I have an appreciation for all brownies, I much prefer the fudge kind that are still a bit gooey!

I doubled the recipe so that I would have enough for both of our families, so the recipe makes enough for a 8x8 pan, but I used a 9x12 with double the batter.  I adjusted the brownies to make them dairy free as well as GF.  The brownies turned out very thick, moist and they had a nice crunch from the chocolate chips.

Gluten-Free Brownies (Original Recipe from KAF)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa or baking cocoa
3 large eggs
3/4 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or brown rice flour blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8" square pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine oil, applesauce, sugar and salt and heat for 1 minute on high.  Mix and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Now, blend in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and mix until the batter is smooth and well blended.  Add eggs one at at time until fully incorporated.

Pour the flour and baking powder into the mix and mix on low at first, then move to medium speed. Stir in the chips and/or nuts, if you're using them.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it all the way to the edges.

Bake the brownies for 35 to 38 minutes.  Check with a toothpick and make sure that a bit of crumbs comes off.  I started checking it at 35 minutes, but I had to add an extra 4 minutes and then it looked great.  These puffed up quite a bit, but stayed a bit gooey in the center.

Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before cutting. Store on the counter or they also taste yummy in the refrigerator.

Yield: 16 brownies.

Monday, June 11, 2012


I really don't understand why anyone would buy the pre-packaged guacamole mix in the grocery stores! It's full of sodium and who knows what else and guacamole is super easy to make!  There is this great Mexican restaurant in Fort Collins, Colorado that mixes the guacamole to order for every table.  At the table is a small card with a checklist to check the items that you would like in your guacamole!  I loved this and you could even make it a bit more tropical with strawberries and other goodies!  Options were limitless and it was SO tasty!

Good, ripe avocados make all of the difference in the world for good guacamole, so make sure they are ripe when you are about to use them in your guacamole.  They should just give a little when you push into the skin.  If they are too hard or soft, it just won't make for good guacamole!

Guacamole (adapted from Rachael Ray's Garlicky Holy Guacamole)

2 ripe avocados
1 lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 of small yellow onion, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed, dried and copped
1 small plum tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. salt

Half the avocados around the seed, remove the seed with a knife and use a spoon to take out the flesh to put into a Tupperware container or bowl.  Squeeze lime (more may be needed if the lime doesn't give off enough juice) into bowl.  Add garlic, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, tomato and salt.  Mash us the mixture with a fork to desired constancy.  I prefer a chunky guacamole, but others prefer smooth consistency (just mash for longer to make it smooth).

Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Week 54: Pesto is SO yummy!

We always plant lots of basil in our cul-de-sac garden, so it's finally big enough for us to begin really enjoying it.  I crave this time of year because I'm totally and completely addicted to basil-walnut pesto.  I eat it on everything: eggs, potatoes, shrimp, chicken, fish, asparagus. . . the list could go on and on!  So, I made our first batch this weekend and we ate dinner with one of our neighbors to enjoy one of the first feasts from our community garden!

My hubby got me started on pesto with scrambled eggs and it's really amazing!  All we do is lightly scramble a few eggs with salt and pepper, then add the pesto once the eggs are on the plate.  Mix the eggs up in the pesto and you have a wonderful new zip for your scrambled eggs!  Pesto is SO easy to make!  You just have to try it!

This is our awesome basil!  It really does make me smile!

Weekly Menu:

Sunday - Rotisserie chicken, steamed green beans, corn on the cob
Monday - Sirloin pork roast (one of my favorites), roasted cauliflower & asparagus, couscous
Tuesday - (Annabelle's 9th birthday, so she chose the menu) Beef stroganoff, egg noodles, broccoli
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Salmon with sautéed mango-pineapple chutney (from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats), yellow rice, roasted carrots & cauliflower
Friday - Out to dinner?
Saturday - Burgers, baked potatoes/sweet potatoes, grilled zucchini, salad

Happy cooking this week to everyone!  Remember that I'm not picky about what you list on your menus, but just excited to see what you all cook in your homes too!