A Flop Turned Fab … When Coconut Cream Doesn’t Cooperate

Snacks

1. Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cake Cupcakes – So yummy, so easy. I love, love carrot cake and these carrot cake muffins don’t disappoint. See my notes below as a kitchen flop occurred with this frosting that we turned into a treat.

2. Avocado Milkshake – Lucky me (and now you) because I discovered that avocados make delicious milkshakes thanks to Good Eats/Alton Brown.

Dinners

1. Farmer’s Market Skillet – This is a lose your mind kind of good meal. Tons of flexibility with the ingredients too. Think fresh summer vegetables topped with a sweet yet lemony and garlic vinaigrette. A friend introduced me to this recipe, and now I’m passing it on to you! You can thank me later 😉

2. Greek Salad – Quick, summer meal that is ready in less than 15 minutes. Winner, winner every time it’s for dinner. Serve it alongside some grilled chicken or all by itself.

3. Sweet Corn with Beets and Basil with Chicken Sausage – You’ve seen this here before, and you’ll see it here again. It’s such a hit with my family. We’ve never been so excited to see beets in our CSA box!

4. Fresh Summer Pasta with Tomatoes, Lemon, Garlic & Capers – This is one of the best examples of a fresh, summery pasta that is ready in a flash. No cooking required (other than the pasta). The “sauce” is prepared by soaking garlic and finely chopped onions in lemon juice. Throw in some tomatoes, capers, and fresh parsley, and a very impressive (entertaining quality) dinner is ready in minutes!

5. Crunchy Kale and Cabbage Salad with Grilled Herb Chicken – A salad that seems rather ordinary ends up being anything but ordinary! The dressing just makes this salad. I really like to add good quality blue cheese because it can hold its own alongside the kale and cabbage and tangy dressing. Here’s a great salad that doesn’t get sad on day two – leftovers retain their crunchiness which is a rare find with salads!

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…


Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cake Cupcakes


Adapted from Happy Healthy Mama

Cupcakes
• 1 +1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
• 1 +1/2 t. baking powder
• 1/2 t. baking soda
• 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
• 1/2 t. ground ginger
• 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
• 3/4 t. sea salt
• 2 organic eggs
• 2/3 c. organic, unsweetened applesauce
• 1/3 c. pure maple syrup (alternative: honey)
• 2 t. organic vanilla extract
• 1/4 c. crushed pineapple, drained
• 2 c. organic carrots, shredded
• 1/3 c. organic raisins

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease metal muffin tins with a healthy oil. Alternatively, use silicone muffin cups.
2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, & sea salt).
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, & vanilla).
4. Stir the pineapple, carrots, and raisins into the wet ingredients.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir just until combined.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Frosting
• 8 oz. organic cream cheese, at room temperature (alternative: 8 oz. canned full fat coconut or coconut cream)
• 4 T. pure maple syrup
• 1 t. organic vanilla extract
• 1 t. cinnamon
• Pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1. Whisk together all ingredients.
2. Ice cupcakes when completely cooled.

Notes/Kitchen Flop: If using coconut cream or coconut milk, be sure it is solidified. Read more about this here. Sometimes, for reasons unbeknownst to me, a can of coconut cream is not solid. When that is the case, just know that it can’t be used to make thick, creamy frosting. I tried to outsmart my can of liquid coconut cream by freezing and then using it. As you can see by the picture, the cream attempted to outsmart me when it returned to a liquid state upon thawing. However, in the end, I won the battle of the frosting by using the cupcake dip/soak method.

Tip: If using cream cheese for the frosting, know that it “melts” as it warms. Consider frosting the cupcakes just before eating them instead of icing them all at once. This also allows me to eat a spoonful of the icing, when needed 😋


Avocado Milkshake


Inspiration: Good Eats: Curious Yet Tasty Avocado Experiment episode

• 1 avocado
• 1 c. organic milk (plus more to achieve your desired consistency)
• 2-3 T. local honey
• ¼ t. vanilla extract
• 1/8 to ¼ t. cinnamon, optional

Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender. Combine until smooth.


Sweet Corn with Beets and Basil and Grilled Chicken Sausage


Adapted from Martha Stewart

• 2 ears of organic corn, husked
• 6-8 baby beets, trimmed and scrubbed
• 1-2 T. fresh basil, chopped
• 2 oz. goat cheese
• Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. In a large pot of salted water, boil the corn until cooked (about 4-5 minutes). Remove corn and set aside, retain the water.
2. Add the beets to the water and simmer until soft (about 30 minutes). Remove the beets and allow them to cool slightly.
3. Remove the beet skins by sliding them off with protected hands. (I use “sandwich bag gloves.”)
4. Once the skins are removed, dice the beets and place them in a serving bowl.
5. Cut the kernels from the cobs, add them to the beets and gently mix to combine.
6. Top the salad with basil and goat cheese crumbles.
7. Drizzle with olive oil.
8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Do not over stir or all will become pink.

Serve with grilled preservative free chicken sausage.


Farmers Market Skillet


Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

• 1-3/4 c. organic chicken broth
• 1 c. organic quinoa, rinsed and drained
• 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2-3 small organic zucchini, quartered and sliced (or half a large one)
• 1 organic bell pepper
• ½ red onion
• 1 small eggplant
• 2-3 ears organic, NON GMO corn kernels, cut from the cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
• Sea salt & pepper, to taste
• 1-2 vine-ripened organic tomato, chopped (alternative: organic cherry tomatoes, halved)
• 1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
• 2 T. fresh basil, chopped

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette

• 1 lemon, zested & juiced (alternative: lime)
• 1 1/2 T. local honey (preferably raw)
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/2 t. sea salt
• 1/4 t. pepper

Directions:
1. Prepare the vinaigrette by stirring all ingredients together. Set aside.
2. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions, substituting organic chicken or vegetable stock for water.
3. Warm a large skillet to nearly medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté the garlic for about a minute or until fragrant.
4. Add the onions, bell pepper, and a tiny bit of salt/pepper to the skillet. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
5. Add the eggplant and corn to the skillet and again season with a tiny bit of salt/pepper. Cook until the eggplant begins to soften, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).
6. Stir in the cooked quinoa and ½ of the vinaigrette.
7. Add the tomatoes, feta, basil, and remaining vinaigrette and stir.
8. Allow everything to cook for another minute or two. Season with salt/pepper, to taste.
9. Finish each plate with a drizzle of olive oil.

Notes: The possibilities are endless with the veggies in this recipe. Veggies I would not omit are corn and tomatoes. From there…it’s a matter of what you like. Okra could work in this dish as well as some fresh greens (which would wilt with the heat), mushrooms, etc. If quinoa isn’t your bag, you could substitute farro, Israeli cous cous, barley, etc. Let your pantry and refrigerator contents be your guide!


Greek Salad


Adapted from Katri

Salad

• 1 pint of organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (Alternative: any organic tomato)
• 1 organic cucumber, chopped (skin on or off, up to you)
• 1 organic bell pepper, chopped
• 1 small red onion, chopped
• 1 c. Kalamata olives, halved
• 8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing

• 2 T. of fresh lemon juice (alternative: lime juice)
• 2 T. vinegar (red or white wine vinegar)
• 1 t. dried oregano
• 2 t. of dried parsley, optional (I’ve omitted it when I didn’t have any, and it was still great!)
• 1 t. of sea salt
• 1/2 t. of freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 c. of extra virgin olive oil
• 4 drops organic stevia, optional

Directions:
1. Stir together all ingredients for the dressing. Set aside.
2. Add all veggies and cheese to a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top, and gently stir.
3. If you can wait, refrigerate this for at least 30 minutes. The flavors will marry and get happier the longer they hang out together.


Fresh Summer Pasta with Tomatoes, Lemon, Garlic & Capers


Adapted from Spoon With Me

• 3/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 medium lemons)
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 4 large cloves garlic, minced
• 2 lbs. ripe, organic tomatoes, chopped (about 5 tomatoes)
• ¼ c. fresh parsley leaves, chopped (alternative: if you love parsley, increase to ½ c.)
• 2 oz. capers, drained
• 1 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
• 1 t. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
• 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 lb. 100% whole wheat pasta
• Parmesan cheese, optional topping

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, add the lemon juice, onion, and garlic. Set aside and allow to rest at least 10 minutes.
2. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, chop the tomatoes and parsley.
4. Add the tomatoes, parsley, and capers to the lemon juice.
5. Add the drained pasta (do not rinse) to the lemon juice.
6. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt/pepper to taste.

7. Finish each plate with Parmesan cheese.

Tips/Notes

• The key is to allow the garlic and onions to rest in the lemon juice at least 10 minutes! It really softens the  onion and garlic flavors.
• Finish with good quality parmesan cheese.
• I’ve tried fresh basil in place of the parsley. The basil was overpowered by the onion and lemon. If you love parsley, consider increasing amount to ½ c. as called for in the original recipe.


Crunchy Kale and Cabbage Salad with Pan Seared Chicken Sausage


Adapted from The Naked Kitchen

Salad

• 1 bunch red or green organic kale, stems removed and thinly sliced (3-4 cups)
• 1 small head cabbage, cored, quartered and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)

Dressing

• 2 handfuls of sliced almonds + 1 handful reserved for topping (alternative: nut of preference)
• 3 T. apple cider vinegar (alternatives: balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, red wine vinegar)
• 3 T. organic mayo (alternative: organic plain Greek Yogurt)
• 2 T. pure maple syrup (alternative: local honey)
• 1 T. Dijon mustard
• sea salt and pepper to taste

Optional Topping

• Gorgonzola crumbles (alternative: any blue cheese variety)

Directions:
1. In a small food processor or blender, combine all dressing ingredients. Set aside.
2. In a serving bowl, stir together the kale and cabbage. Pour the dressing over the top and mix thoroughly.
3. Top salad with reserved nuts and cheese.
4. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
Serve with pan seared preservative free chicken sausage.

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