Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Mandarin and Walnut Salad

This salad works great as an easy lunch, a great weeknight side dish or even a weekend meal starter. Most of the ingredients are from the farmer’s market, so if you live in Texas (or southern Texas at least) the entire salad is in season!

This salad includes:

Arugula/Mixed Winter Greens

Mandarin Oranges


Gorgonzola Cheese

There is no exact amount of each ingredient, just add as you see fit. I would recommend using the gorgonzola sparingly as the taste is very strong.

I discovered making my own dressing about a year ago. It’s so easy, and a much healthier option. For this salad I used a very basic Vinaigrette:

Mix together:

1/2 cup olive oil

4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

6 tsp dijon mustard

Add salt and pepper to taste

Shake well!

Last week I picked up this great salad dressing mixer from Crate and Barrel. At a price of only $14.95, it is a really great investment. It’s great for mixing, serving and storing!


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Yummy Granola!

As promised here is my very tasty (and easy) Crunchy Granola Recipe:

Mix together:

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. salt

In a separate bowl mix together:

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Mix the two bowls together. Spread flat on greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Stir and  add desired amount of chopped walnuts. Bake 5 minutes. Stir once again and bake 5-10 more minutes. Granola should still be slightly sticky as its cooling. After it has cooled add raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, seeds etc.

Our favorite way to serve this granola is over vanilla yogurt!

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Apple Butter

Last weekend Brian’s mom gave us a huge sack of apples from her apple tree! I’ve enjoyed being creative and finding ways to use them all.  As apples begin their season I thought I’d share these easy steps for making and canning apple butter. This is the recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I’m glad I used such a traditional recipe — the apple butter turned out exactly how I’d hoped.

4 1/2 pounds tart cooking apples, cored and chopped

3 cups apple cider or apple juice

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnimon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1. Chop apples. Combine apples and cider in an 8 to 10 quart cooking pot. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Let simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Press through food mill or let cool and chop until it becomes pureed pulp. Return to pot.

2. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, over very low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until very thick.

3. Ladle hot apple butter into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool on racks. It is probably best to read through more detailed canning instructions such as ones found at www.homecanning.com

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Sweet potatoes may make you think of Thanksgiving, but their harvesting season has already begun. I had not thought to use sweet potatoes in quesadillas before, so when I found this recipe I was anxious to try it out. We were not disappointed — the quesadillas were a great mix of Mexican spice and savory fall flavors.

1 1/2 cups onion, minced

1 cup red or green sweet peppers, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

-Saute in large frypan in 1 tablespoon oil

2 teapspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons marjoram, chili powder, and cumin

-Add and cook another minute

4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

-Add and heat through, frequently stirring to prevent sticking.

8 tortillas

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

-Layer sweet potato filling, cheese and mushrooms on one half of tortilla. Fold tortilla in half. Place on oiled baking sheets. Brush tops with oil. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, beans and salsa. Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of potassium and vitamin C, B6, riboflavin, copper, pantothetic acid and folic acid. So this recipe is a great way to sneak in extra vegetables without compromising taste. And if you leave out the cheese, it’s vegan!

(This recipe was adapted from Simply in Season, my very favorite cookbook!)

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I’ve spent time over the last month canning salsa, tomatoes and tomato sauce. I’ve decided not to put up instructions on how to can on the site, because there are lots of great resources about canning out there (and I don’t want to miss a step). I will say however, that canning highly acidic fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and peaches is really easy.  I think it is a great step toward eating more sustainably. I chose to can local tomatoes that were bought in season from a farmers market, and by preserving them we can eat tomatoes even in the winter!

Check out these sites for more information:



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This soup is hard to make look appetizing in a picture! I took a lot of shots (and even brought in Brian for backup) and though you may not believe me, this picture looks the tastiest. So you’ll just have to trust me this time. This recipe is so easy, it’s a great week night meal.  It also makes for great leftovers.


2 cans black beans

1 can pinto beans

1 can or 2 ears of roasted corn

16 oz. chunky mild salsa – check back soon for a great new salsa recipe!

1 medium zucchini squash

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

2 tbsp. chili powder

1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

Combine all the ingredients and let simmer for 30 minutes. Top with cheddar cheese and serve. You can also add 2-3 cups boiled shreaded chicken. If you add the chicken be sure to add some additional broth to make it the consistency you like.

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Roasted Tomatillo Salsa


2.5lbs tomatillos, roasted with husks removed

1 white onion, chopped and browned

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

3 jalapenos, chopped and browned

2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon. sugar

salt to taste

Remove husks from tomatillos and broil round side up 5-7 minutes or until slightly charred. While the tomatillos are roasting, brown the onions and jalapenos in a skillet. Once everything has cooled chop it all together in a chopper until smooth. Serve with tortilla chips or get creative; we used our salsa as a topping for some veggie enchiladas twice this week!

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