Sweet and Spicy Irish Sauce

My husband and I love going to this Irish (chain) restaurant near us. The food is fantastic!

However the price, not so much in our budget. When

you are trying to save money it’s important to make it as painless as possible.

One of my favorite tips is to find/ create copy cat recipes, serve them on our best dishes or outside for an al fresco meal.

Small touches like that, flowers (that you’ve picked!), or candles can make a huge difference!

So here’s is a favorite of ours, serve over grilled, baked, or fried chicken.

Sweet and Spicy Irish Sauce

1 stick of butter

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

2.5 Tb honey

.5- 1 Tb green Tabasco sauce * the amount depends on how spicy you want it!

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1. Melt the butter on medium heat. When completely melted add the rest of ingredients. Whisk to incorporate. Turn on low and simmer until ready to pour on cooked chicken.

Enjoy!

This post participates in:

Prairie Homestead Barn Hop
Morristribe Blog Hop
Hearth and Soul Blog Hop
Pennywise Platter

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Apple-Cranberry Walnut Salad

This almost didn’t make the post as my son kept trying to steal it off the plate 🙂

Last year a friend came over with this salad.

It was wonderfully simple and I had to re-create it! Then one day I

was completely out of an ingredient, so I made a substitution. My family loved

it even more! And so I continue to make it this way. As always, I am itching to

revamp it again, but here is take 1 🙂

Apple-Cranberry Walnut Salad

3– 4 large apples

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 Tb honey

1. Remove core of the apples and then slice them up.

2. Place apple, cranberries, walnuts in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the mixture and toss.

3. Add cinnamon and toss again. Finally add the honey and toss 1 last time 🙂

See, Easy Peasy! You want to make sure to add the lemon, cinnamon, and honey

in the order. That allows the lemon juice to adhere to the apples to prevent browning.

If you add the honey before the cinnamon, then the cinnamon tends to get clumpy.

By any chance you have leftovers of this wonderful dish (which unless I hoard it, never happens)

it is wonderful served in oatmeal the next morning for breakfast! I have also been

tinkering with the idea of serving it warm over pancakes (yum!)

This post participates in the following:

 Morristribe-Homesteader-Blog-Carnival
Prairie Homestead Barn Hop
The Nourishing Gourmet Pennywise Platter

Cucumber Salad with Dilly Ranch Dressing

Please forgive my pictures. Sometimes in life you just have to go with what you’ve got!

I love cucumbers, which is a good thing since I have an over-abundance of them in my garden 🙂

This is a little somethin’ somethin’ that I threw together at the last-minute, and it was a hit!

My dd who claims she hates cucumbers, couldn’t get enough!

Cucumber Salad 

2 4 in cucumbers peeled

1 Tb red onion diced

2 Tb (approx.) Dilly Ranch Dressing- recipe below

1. Roughly chop the cucumbers in a medium dice. Place the onion and cucumber in a bowl and toss.

2. Add enough dressing to coat cucumber/ onion mixture. Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge until ready to eat.

I hope you enjoy this simple creamy goodness!

Dilly Ranch Dressing

1.5 Tb of mayonnaise (preferably homemade)

4 Tb of  creme fraiche

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 tsp of dried dill weed

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

fresh cracked pepper

1/8 tsp of cumin

1. Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust salt/ pepper to your preference. Use right away or chill in the fridge (covered) until ready to use.

Bacon, Tomato…..and Kale!

Bacon, Tomato, and Kale

Kale is something that grows in abundance in my garden. Unfortunately I have a hard time getting my daughter and husband to eat this nutritionally dense green. My son will eat kale chips by the fist full, but the rest turn up their noses 😦 Yesterday I tinkered with a new recipe which has been hubby approved!  If you prefer your green only slightly wilted then add the liquid first to de-glaze the pan and then reduce down before adding the kale.

Bacon, Tomato….and Kale

12 ozs bacon, chopped

2 garlic cloves finely minced

1/2 medium onion finely diced

1.5 cups of chicken stock

1/4 cup dry white wine*

4 cups of kale, chopped and firmly packed

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

salt & pepper to taste

1. Wash and dry the kale. Then using a sharp knife, remove the stems and the center vein. After removing the stem and vein, stack the kale and chop it. If you are buying your kale from the store you will need about 2 good size bunches. Set kale aside.

2. In a skillet over medium heat cook the chopped bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a small plate.

3. Add the onion and garlic to the bacon grease, stirring until golden brown (about 2-3 minutes)

4. Add the DRY chopped kale (make sure that the kale is very dry, water hitting the bacon grease will cause the HOT grease to splash out!) Turn the kale in the grease until it is coated.

5. Add the chicken stock and white wine* into the skillet, scraping up the tiny bits stuck to the bottom. Bring liquid up to a boil for about 10 minutes.

6. Add halved cherry tomatoes, thyme and rosemary. Continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the liquid is almost gone and tomatoes have started to soften.

7. Add salt & pepper, taste to adjust seasonings. Serve & Enjoy!

I show the Bacon, Tomato, & Kale served alongside oven roasted potatoes. It would also be great served over rice.

* If you object to using wine in cooking, just add extra stock.

Also if you don’t use pork or beef bacon, you may need to add butter or oil to the skillet before adding the onions and garlic.

This post is apart of the Pennywise Platter http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/08/pennywise-platter-thursday-89.html, The Morristribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival http://www.themorristribe.com/2012/08/12/welcome-to-the-morristribes-homesteader-blog-carnival-20/ , and The Prairie Homestead Barn Hop http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2012/08/homestead-barn-hop-74.html

Coconut Rice

I have to admit that I cheated on my coconut rice. I’ve been very tired and busy with last-minute prep before the baby is born. Here is my quick and easy cheat for coconut rice. You can still make this with regular rice, just wait until the rice has almost absorbed all the liquid before adding in the shredded coconut.

Ingredients:

2 Tb Coconut Oil

1 pkg of pre-cooked frozen jasmine rice

1/4 c shredded coconut

Salt

 

1. Melt coconut oil in a pot.

2. Add frozen rice, tossing in the oil, coating all the rice.

3. If your frozen rice has any directions to add water do so now. I add 1/4 c water and cook for about 6 minutes.

4. Just before the water is completely absorbed  add the shredded coconut in and continue to cook until all the water is absorbed (another 2-6 minutes).

5. Add salt to taste and serve!

Warm Asian Bacon Salad

Please excuse the paper plate. With being due any day I am trying to cut down on chores. Last thing I want is to come home to a sink full of dishes! I love this dish as it is naturally sweet…..but no sweeteners are added in it! Here is it shown served with Coconut Rice for a nice filling meal.

Dressing:

6 Tb sesame oil

3 Tb Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

2 Tb Soy Sauce

1/4 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cumin

1/4 cardamom

1. Combine ingredients and set aside

Salad:

2 large bunches of Tai Soi or bok choy~stems finely chopped and leaves in 1 ” slices

2 small/ medium carrots shredded

1/4 c diced onion

1/2 c bell peppers cut into strips

1 c frozen pineapple chunks

1 pkg of bacon (I used beef bacon)

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.

2. In the same skillet add in frozen pineapple, bell peppers, onion, tai soi (bok choy) stems, and shredded carrots over medium heat. Stir until the onions are soft and the pineapple is heated through.

3. Add in the Tai Soi (bok choy) leaves and continue to stir until the leaves are wilted about 5-8 minutes.

4. Chop bacon, add back into skillet, pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve!

This is apart of the Hearth and Soul Blog Hop on the Penniless Parenting at www.pennilessparenting.com

This is apart of the Homestead Barn Blog Hop #64 on the Prairie Homestead at http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2012/06/homestead-barn-hop-64.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ThePrairieHomestead+%28The+Prairie+Homestead%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

Greek inspired quinoa salad

“More! More!”…”Me too! Me too!” Those words are music to a mother’s ears….especially when heard at the dinner table! I’ve put off making quinoa because the last time I made it the kids wouldn’t eat it. I decided to give it another go this time using the white quinoa instead of the red. The white is more mild in flavor, which seems to be a hit 🙂

Ingredients:
2 cups of quinoa soaked overnight and rinsed until water is clear*
3 cups of water
olive oil
1 cup of cucumber de-seeeded and diced
1 Tbsp of minced red onion
1/2 c of diced & de-seeded tomato
10 olives (your favorite) cut in half or quartered
1 1/2 cups of baby spinach sliced into ribbons

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 c olive oil
1 Tbsp of greek seasoning
salt & pepper

*Make sure you rinse your soaked quinoa until the water runs clear….if this step is skipped your quinoa will be BITTER! For more information on soaking your quinoa visit http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/01/basic-quinoa-soaked.html

1. Place quinoa in a pot on medium heat with the 3 cups of water. Cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork, and drizzle with olive oil to prevent clumping.

2. In a bowl add the quinoa and the rest of the salad ingredients. (Other optional veggies could be colored bell peppers, artichokes, or even capers.)

3. In a separate bowl prepare dressing. Squeeze in lemon juice, add greek seasoning, and SLOWLY pour in olive oil, whisking until emulsified. It should take about 1/3 c of olive oil, but watch carefully! Add a pinch of salt and black pepper.

4. Pour dressing over salad, toss, then taste to adjust salt & pepper to taste. **tip the more salty the olive you use, the less salt you will need to add in, the same goes with the capers 🙂 Enjoy!

This post was shared as a part of the Pennywise Platter. http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/01/pennywise-platter-thursday-119.html

Grain Free Diet

It’s been a while since I have posted. There have been many things going on including my new blog for our MOPs group! Check it out http://www.montgomeryagmops.wordpress.com I am so thankful for all the help that I have received. My garden had a great year, I put up many pickles, relish, etc. The freezer is full of (freezer) pickles, tomatoes, green-beans, and sugar snap peas.

Also I have been eating gluten 😦 Unfortunately I have been having digestive upset and weight gain. So yesterday I started back, but not only am I gluten free, I am grain free (with the exception of soy sauce). Getting rid of gluten helped last time, but didn’t solve all my problems. So here we go with grain-free 🙂 If I don’t see enough of a change in how I feel then I will try the gaps diet. This will be boring to you but I am listing my food as accountability to myself. So here we go:

YesterdayBfast: fruit, Lunch: hotdogs & greenbeans, Dinner– Grilled Chicken & asparagus- pepper salad Dessert– apple snack– lunch meat

TodayBfast: Leftover Chicken & Cheese, Lunch– grilled ginger-soy salmon & sauteed kale & asparagus, Dinner– open-faced grain free tacos (check http://www.marksdailyapple.com and search for tortilla if you want the recipe) Dessert– grain-free peach crumble w/ homemade whip cream (sweetened with stevia)

New Adventures in Food-Part 2

Discovered a local cup-cakery that was apparently apart of food network’s cupcake wars. I don’t know if they won or not, but those cupcakes were the best!! To make it even better was they sell gluten-free cupcakes 🙂 Since the last time I posted I’ve tried to make a gluten-free Quiche crust. That didn’t turn out so well 😦 so I made a crustless Quiche which turned out great!

I have been reading more and learning a lot. So here is the kicker…I need to start eating gluten again! I am finally starting to feel better. I’m still run down, but I no longer feel like my head is foggy. The problem is that I have learned some more things that have given me cause to be concerned that perhaps I may potentially have celiac disease. I’m not really concerned with it, because I will be going gluten-free no matter what, it just means that I will have to be even more vigilant about gluten. So what is celiac disease? Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten. Unfortunately all too often people do not know that they have it, even if they try to get help it often gets misdiagnosed. Then they are fed a bunch of medicine that treats the symptoms, not the actual problem. This can lead to more serious diseases. So due to family history (and my history) I feel I definitely need to find out if it is an intolerance or celiac. Unfortunately the testing won’t give accurate results if I am not eating gluten. So back to the gluten until I can get in and have my blood drawn. For more information about celiac disease or gluten free cooking check out my new links!

New Adventures in Food

So since the last time I posted there have been some changes that I have made in my life. I have been soda free for several weeks now (yea!). I found that drinking cold water helps wake me up. I have also been drinking tea, herbal coffee, and lemonade as substitutes when I really just want a soda. I want to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet, but first comes first. I’m not the kind of person that can tackle several new challenges at once. Now that I have got the soda thing under my belt, the next big thing is to go gluten-free.

So what is gluten you may ask? It is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, rye, etc. Where can it be found? Well obviously bread, bakery items, pasta, soy sauce (unless labeled otherwise), some salad dressings, marinades, and basically most pre-package food. These grains are considered great “fillers” so you have to watch it, even if it says that it has no wheat, it may have dextrin in it, which is a form of gluten. Unfortunately it can also be found in makeup and medicine.

Now why am I going gluten-free? No this is not just a fad, it is going to be a lifestyle for me. I have rosacea, migraines, and some digestive issues. When I started researching what could cause all these things, there was a common theme that I found throughout all of these things and it is gluten. I am not saying that I have celiac disease, because I don’t believe that I do. I do believe that I have an intolerance to gluten.

So now I am embarking on a new adventure learning how to cook with new flours! For pasta I am buying tinkyada or sometimes deBoles (rice). Now I have to warn you there are a lot of rice pastas that are out there and they don’t taste very good and get gummy. These pastas (when cooked to al dente) are great. I have been using them for over a year now as I have a friend that has already made the switch to gluten-free. I am currently working on a new recipe for lemon coconut muffins. I have a few tweaks that I need to make, but should hopefully be posting soon!