Opposites

caprese nobake

These two items are completely opposite in nature, and that is okay with me!

First the caprese salad, which I am currently quite taken by. It is so simple and quick to make and tastes wonderful. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt. Yum!

The second photo shows the ‘best ever chocolate oatmeal no-bake bars’ which I found at mommysavingmom.com. Again, this recipe is quick and simple and delicious. I left out the nuts, raisins or dried cranberries, more for my kids’ sakes than my own, although I would never add raisins anyway. I think dried cranberries would be very good in this though. I did not have quite enough peanut butter, so I used half peanut butter and half almond butter. I have a child who detests peanut butter, so I am waiting with bated breath to see if he will like these bars. Of course, he also is not a big chocolate-lover, so it might not really matter. And these bars are quite chocolaty! I think that I might use even more oats and coconut in the future to cut down on some of that chocolate goodness.

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Mexican 5-Layer Dip

I needed to bring an appetizer to a meeting the other night and, after a lot of searching and hesitancy, I decided to try this recipe from my Best of Clean Eating cookbook. It sounded relatively easy, which is what I was most in need of in an appetizer that day; however, I am not a big avocado or mushed bean fan. I am quite pleased to say that this recipe was amazingly delicious! There was a bit left over, and it was just as good the next day. It was fresh and flavourful. I can’t wait for an excuse to make it again.

I did tweak the recipe just a little bit, so my version is posted below. While the recipe is simple, there are a few distinct steps, which may require washing your food processor between steps. For simplicity, I’m not going to include those steps in the recipe.

The recipe called for dried pinto beans. I had hoped to use canned beans, but I could not find pinto. Instead, I used a can of black beans, drained and rinsed. In the food processor, puree the beans with a bit of water until you have a slightly chunky puree. Add salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. Transfer to 9×9 casserole dish or large glass bowl and spread into an even layer. Top with a layer of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, about 1 1/2 cups.

In a medium bowl, combine the following: 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped; 1/2 a white onion, chopped; 2-3 jalapeno, seeded and chopped; roughly 1/2 cup chopped cilantro; the juice of one lime; salt and pepper. Set aside for now.

In food processor or blender, puree the following: 2 avocados, pitted and peeled; the juice of one lime;roughly 1/4 cup chopped cilantro; salt and pepper. Puree until slightly chunky. Dollop over cheese layer and spread out.

Dollop 1 1/2 cups low-fat sour cream over avocado and spread into a thin layer.

Use a slotted spoon to drain any liquid from the tomato mixture and spread tomatoes evenly over sour cream.

Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, rice chips…

Per 1/4 cup serving: approximately 86 calories, fat 4.5 g, carbs 8 g, fiber 2 g, sugars 1.5 g, protein 4 g

Just for the record…I use Celtic sea salt (course and/or fine) and freshly ground black pepper.

 

 

 

Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Salad

This salad is so simple to make and so easy to manipulate. Fresh basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, and sliced fresh mozzarella, coarse Celtic sea salt, fresh ground pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar-that’s it! You could add sliced avocado. If you can get your hands on heirloom tomatoes or yellow tomatoes, they would create an interesting visual and wonderful flavour. You could use crumbled feta instead of the mozzarella.

I will admit that I found the mozzarella to be rather bland and boring. Perhaps I could have drizzled the oil and vinegar more generously?

Salsa!

I love fresh, homemade salsa! Seriously, I could eat the entire bowl, with or without tortilla chips. It is so easy to make, and tastes so much better than anything bottled.

My recipe is not exact and easily adaptable to personal taste.

In a medium-sized bowl add: 3 cored and diced tomatoes, 2 pressed cloves of garlic, a 1/4 red onion minced, 1 jalapeno pepper minced, a handful of cilantro chopped, fresh ground pepper and coarse sea salt, and fresh lime juice. Toss.

If you like your salsa hot, add more jalapeno. My heat tolerance is not too great, so one jalapeno is usually enough to make my mouth burn without being too spicy hot. You could use parsley instead of cilantro, but I personally find that lacking in flavour. I love cilantro.

Some day I want to try adding some black beans and corn!

Roasted Tomato & Sausage Soup

 
8 tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, wedged
3 links Italian sausage, quartered (you could omit this or use turkey Italian sausage)
2-3 cloves garlic, still in skin
2-3 tbsp olive oil
salt and ground pepper
dried basil, oregano, parsley, and paprika, as much or as little as you like
10 ounces low sodium chicken broth
 
1. Put vegetables, sausage, and garlic on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. Roast at 450F for 40-50 minutes, stirring after 20 minutes.
2. Remove sausages and slice; set aside.
3. Squeeze garlic out of skin and discard skin. Peel tomatoes, if desired.
4. Put vegetables in blender along with brown bits scraped from baking sheet. Blend until fairly smooth. You may need to do this in two batches.
5. Pour into saucepan with broth and sausages. Bring to a boil and serve.
 
Makes about 4 cups of soup.
 
Per 1 cup:  approx. 229 calories, 9 g carbs, 15 g fat, 16 g protein (with sausage), 2 g fiber, 0 sugar