Are you staying cool during the hot weather we’ve been having? This is the time of year when I probably eat the most fruit. I love all kinds of fruit and that’s what I like about this Mango-Jalapeno Salsa–there’s a nice variety of fruit—mango, pineapple, and apple—–mixed in with some diced tomato and red bell pepper. It’s a little on the spicy side, so use half the amount of jalapeno and ginger if you want a milder salsa. Overall, I think this is a great, healthy mix of naturally sweet and savory flavors! Continue reading
Creamy dips are great to snack on, whether you’re visiting with friends or watching a big game. And if you’re keeping track of calories, this Creamy Salsa Yogurt Dip is a good one to try. This yummy dip is a little more on the healthy side compared to other dips. It’s made with yogurt, salsa, a little bit of light mayo, and some seasoning. Continue reading
I’ve grown basil every summer for many years–sometimes in a garden, but lately in a large pot, since I don’t have space for a garden right now. I love making homemade pesto with my basil! It’s really easy to make and there’s nothing like cutting fresh basil from your own garden or pot to make it. What probably takes the longest time in making this recipe is picking the basil leaves off the cut stems…but even that task is enjoyable because you get to sniff the wonderful aroma of fresh basil while you’re doing it! Here’s a simple recipe I use…it’s a good starting point, and you can adjust the amount of certain ingredients (like the garlic, for example) to suit your taste. You can use a food processor or blender–a food processor probably works best, but a blender will work, too.
BASIL PESTO by NancyC
Makes 2/3 to 3/4 cup
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves. packed
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbsp. pine nuts (I often substitute pecans or walnuts, because they’re less expensive)
- Dash or two of salt, to taste (optional)
In a food processor or blender, add the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic; blend or process until smooth (the mixture is on the thick side, so if you’re using a blender, you may have to stop the blender and stir with a spoon to help it along). Add the Parmesan cheese and nuts (and salt, if desired) to the basil mixture, and blend well. Spoon it out of the blender or food processor into a small bowl (or covered container if you’re going to use it later).
I mostly eat pesto spread on a thick slice of crusty bread. It’s also really good on the Asiago cheese bagels you can buy at Panera Bread or Atlanta Bread Company. If you’re a sourdough bread fan like I am, it’s good on that too!
Do you grow your own basil too? What do you like to make with it?
Beets were never on my list of favorite foods as a kid, but I’ve grown to like them. And I especially like that they are so healthy and good for you. I make recipes with beets every so often–probably not as often as I should–and I had the perfect opportunity to make a beet recipe when I received a complimentary package of Gefen’s Vacuum-Packed Beets, which are organic and also pre-peeled, making them very handy and convenient to use.
These beets work great in everything from salads to smoothies. I decided to make Red Beet Hummus. I love trying different hummus recipes and hadn’t tried one with beets yet. I really like this hummus! It doesn’t have a super-strong beet flavor, since it just has about 1 medium-size beet in it. I think the mild beet flavor goes nicely with the other hummus ingredients, and adding beet to the mix makes this hummus so healthy! If you don’t happen to have any Gefen’s beets on hand, you can use precooked beets or roasted beets instead.
RED BEET HUMMUS by NancyC
- 1 (15-ounce) can of Garbanzo Beans (also called chickpeas)
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped, cooked (or roasted), peeled red beet (about 1 medium size beet)
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 clove minced garlic (you can use 2 cloves if you want a stronger garlic flavor)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of pepper
- pinch of paprika
Add garbanzo beans, chopped beet, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Puree until mixture is smooth. Add sea salt, pepper, and paprika and blend everything together. Add more seasoning to taste if desired. Serve with crackers or veggies or use as a spread on bread or bagels.
I’ve learned that beets are a great source of of vitamin C, iron, fiber, and essential minerals. I really need to get more beets in my diet! Do you make any dishes with beets?
Last fall, I made some homemade applesauce. I thought it was so much better than store-bought. After making that, I decided I needed to try making homemade apple butter sometime. Several friends have given me homemade apple butter the last few years–it makes a wonderful food gift, especially around the holidays. I discovered you can make apple butter with the slow cooker or on the stovetop, and for my first try I decided to make a stovetop version.
This recipe is really easy and it’s weetened with honey and apple juice or apple cider. You basically just put all the ingredients in a large pot and let it cook on low for an hour, until the apples get all tender and mashable. Then you let the mixture cool a little and puree to a smoother consistency in a food processor or blender. I love the cinnamony taste and I think that homemade apple butter, like homemade applesauce, is so much better than any you can buy!
STOVETOP APPLE CINNAMON BUTTER by NancyC
Makes 3 3/4 cups
- 8 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 8 medium, or 2 1/2 pounds)–I used Gala apples; if using organic apples, you can leave the skin on if you want
- 2/3 cup apple juice or apple cider
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large pot or saucepan, combine chopped apples with the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, cover pot, and cook on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Let mixture cool for 15 minutes, then, in several batches, put mixture in blender and puree until smooth (be careful not to overfill your blender or food processor!).
Store in jars with tight-fitting lids or airtight food containers and refrigerate for up to one week.
This apple butter is great on toast, muffins, biscuits, and scones. You can stir it into plain or vanilla yogurt to flavor it up more, or layer it with yogurt and granola for a breakfast parfait.
Have you ever made your own homemade apple butter?