Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

This is probably one of my favorite salads… and it’s SO easy to make.  And because it has sunflower sprouts it seems all fancy.  Which it’s not, but it tastes like it. 1.  Peel and cut 4-5 whole carrots into 1/2 inch pieces.  I use rainbow carrots so it’s pretty. 2.  Put carrots on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast at 350 degrees for 20 min. until they are tender but still a little crunchy. 3.  Put warm carrots into a bowl.  Add sunflower sprouts (get them in the produce section of your grocery store.  They cost about $1) and one diced avocado. 4.  In a small bowl, mix 3 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp rice vinegar, a squirt of honey and salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss.  Serve when carrots are still...

The EASIEST Pork Carnitas Recipe

  This is one of my favorite dinners to make because it’s super easy and everyone LOVES it (it’s Joey’s official favorite food) and… best of all… it comes with tons of leftovers so I always get 2-3 dinners out of one meal.  Woo hoo! Ingredients: 3-4 pound pork shoulder roast (for carnitas) 2 tbsp olive oil salt and pepper 2 oranges 2 limes 1 onion 1 bay leaf 1 tbsp cumin 1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 2.  Heat oil in large dutch oven.  Cut pork into 2-3 inch pieces.  Add salt and pepper ( a good amount.) Set in oil and brown. 3.  Once pork is browned, slice open the oranges and limes, squeeze juice.  Throw halves (rind and all) into pot.  Cut onion into quarters, add to pot.  Add bay leaf and cumin.  Add 2 cups of water so pork is sitting in a nice broth but not entirely covered.  Bring  to boil. 4.  Once pork is boiling, transfer to the oven for 2-3 hours. 5.  After 2-3 hours, remove from oven and use a slotted spoon to take pork out.  Put it on a baking sheet in one layer.  Set aside. 6.  Bring dutch oven to stove, bring liquid to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes until it’s reduced by one half.  It will be almost sticky. 7.  Pour liquid over pork on baking sheet. 8.  Put pork back in oven on broil for 5-10 minutes until it starts to brown. Serve with tortillas, cheese, guacamole and beans. Leftover ideas: Pork fajita soup Enchiladas Burrito bowls Fajitas  ...

Holiday Hack: Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

I was talking on our podcast (coming next week) about my best holiday hacks and one of the things I mentioned is homemade cream of mushroom soup. I know, I know.  That doesn’t really sound like a hack at all, but it is.  Because a big pot of cream of mushroom is the gift that keeps on giving.  Here’s why:  You get dinner one night, but then if you put it into ziplocks in 1-cup increments and freeze it, suddenly you have a healthy alternative to that icky canned stuff that you can grab and add to casseroles throughout the month of December.  Talk about handy!  I made it last night for dinner and then we’re going to have this chicken and rice casserole tomorrow.  Handy, right? (Note:  This isn’t concentrated so I double the amount in casseroles… so if the casserole calls for 1 can soup and 1 cup chicken broth, I add two cups of soup and cut the chicken broth.  Make sense?) Here’s the recipe (this makes a HUGE batch) Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil 1 onion 4 packages sliced mushrooms, varying kinds including baby portabella, shitake, white or others, coursely chopped 5 sprigs thyme 1/2 cup flour 4 cups chicken broth 4 cups milk or half and half 1 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos salt and pepper to taste Saute butter, oil, onion and mushrooms in a big saucepan until tender.  Sprinkle with thyme and flour.  Add chicken broth, bring to a boil.  Add milk, bring to a simmer.  Simmer 10 min, add soy sauce and salt...

Garden Week Day 5: Garden Tomato Salad

Welcome to The Christian Mama’s Guide Pin-Tastic Summer! If you’re just joining us, click over to our intro post to find out what we’re doing and to see what other crafts, activities and projects we’ve done. This week, we’re having math week. Scroll down to learn how to make Garden Tomato Salad and then click here to find out what other awesome math activities we’ve done this week. I know this looks like a bunch of vegetables but my kids LOVE it.  Oh, and I love it, too.  It’s one of my favorite salads. What you need: 2 cups tomatoes (we use a mix of yellow, red and orange from our garden) 1 bunch asparagus 1 handful torn basil (again, from the garden) 1 avocado 1 cup Arugala blue cheese 3 tbsp sesame oil 3 tbsp rice vinegar 1 tsp. honey salt and pepper to taste What to do: Cut veggies into large chunks.  Add to bowl.  Stir in blue cheese. Mix sesame oil, vinegar and honey.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over salad. Toss and eat...

Blogger Food: Asian Meatballs and Avocado Sesame Salad

I got to thinking over the weekend as I cooked another amazing recipe that I got from one of my blogger friends that I need to be blogging about OTHER people’s recipes. Not to steal all the glory (I’m happy to give credit where credit is due) but because I want to introduce you to some of the best food bloggers on the interwebs. When I was working at Nickelodeon and doing their food newsletter, I met some amazing food bloggers. And in the years since, I’ve continued to follow foodies online. So, I’m starting a new series on my blog entitled “Blogger Food”. Every Monday– okay, most Mondays…. I can’t overpromise during writing crunch-time…I’m going to share one of my favorite recipes that I got from a food blogger with a link back to their amazing blog so you can check out what they have to offer. Today’s recipes come from my friends Becky and Rachel at We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook. These are some of my newer food blogger friends– but they are some of my favorites.  I fell in love with their recipes when I tried Rachel’s Coconut & Chocolate Covered Cherries and about swooned. Anyway, with school starting today, I asked Joey what he wanted for dinner and he said “meatballs”.  I remembered seeing Becky’s Asian Meatballs on Facebook so I decided to give them a try.  And oh my goodness… they were so yummy!  Moist and tender and flavorful.  We loved them!  My big first grader loved them.  (And, perhaps most important, Joey said they made him feel “superstrong and fast”… which in...

Peanut Buster Parfaits… And a Recipe for 5-Minute Homemade Hot Fudge

When I was a kid, my parents always took us to Dairy Queen to get Peanut Buster Parfaits. It was the ultimate summer treat! But now I live a good 5 miles (which is a long way in hot summer kid miles) from the closest DQ so we’ve taken to making our own… complete with homemade hot fudge. Here’s what you need: 1 carton vanilla ice cream 1 jar roasted peanuts 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips Pour about half of the jar of sweetened condensed milk into a small saucepan. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add more sweetened condensed milk until your hot fudge reaches your desired consistency. (I usually end up using about 3/4 of the can) Layer ice cream, hot fudge and peanuts in glass see-through dishes (i used coffee mugs) and...

Peach Freezer Jam

After Monday’s pie incident (a.k.a. I had to take a break from work to make a pie see here), I still had TONS of peaches left over.  And while my kids were downing them at the rate of 10 per day, I realized that I had to do something else.  So, I made freezer jam.  It was so easy!  We had it on biscuits this morning and I froze 8 bags to eat throughout the winter.  Yum. Five Minute(ish) Peach Freezer Jam –  3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (this is why it’s only 5 minutes-ish… peeling peaches takes some time.. but once it’s done, you’re home free) – 3 cups sugar –  1 box pectin (I used SureJel) –  8 quart-sized Ziplock bags 1.  Use a potato masher to crush peaches into a chunky mash. 2.  Add sugar.  Stir well. 3.  Put 1 cup water and package of pectin into a saucepan.  Heat for 1 minute until pectin is dissolved. 4.  Slowly stir hot pectin into peaches.  Stir 1-2 minutes until well blended.  Leave sitting on the counter until cool. 5.  Spoon into ziplock bags and leave on counter overnight to set. 6.  Store jam in freezer until you want to use it.  It will defrost in less than 20 minutes on the...

Peaches Peaches Everywhere

It’s peach season in Texas.  Of course, I wouldn’t know it because I’ve been cooped up in my office writing all summer.  But, my husband took my kids to Fredericksburg to go peach picking last weekend… which means we had dozens and dozens of delicious peaches. So, I had to make the sacrifice and stop writing for a bit to make a pie.  And some jam.  And a cobbler.  Feel sorry for me?  I thought so.  Here’s my top-secret, world-famous(ish) fresh peach pie recipe.  It takes some time… but it’s totally worth it. Fresh Peach Pie Crust: 1 1/2 cubes butter 2 cups flour 1 tsp salt ice water Put flour, salt and butter in a bowl.  Use a pastry blender to mix butter and flour until pea-sized crumbs form.  Slowly add ice water, mixing with your hands a little as possible until a sticky, crumbly dough forms.  Roll out on a Silpat mat and place into a pie pan.  Decorate edges as you desire. Filling: 8 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (I dip mine in boiling water for 2 minutes to make them easy to peel) 1/2 cup sugar squeeze of lime 2 tbsp minute tapioca 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg Mix into a large bowl and pour into crust. It will mound quite a bit on top. Topping 2 cups brown sugar 1 cups flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp. salt 1 cup melted butter Crumble on top of pie. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes with a pie crust protector around the edges (if you don’t have a crust protector, tin foil will...

Healthy Jello– REALLY

(Reposting this from last year with photos) My kids love Jello. I hate it. Okay, who am I kidding? I love the stuff… it’s all jiggly and wiggly and delicious. But I hate the fact that its completely PACKED full of sugar and artificial color and artificial sweeteners and all sorts of stuff with absolutely zero nutritive value. So I never make it for my kids… But, since my kids were begging, I decided to create healthy Jello salad… and after a few trials and errors, we had success! So, here it is… my completely artificial-coloring-free, sugar-free, artificial-sweetener-free, all-natural Jello salad recipe Watermelon Gelatine Salad * 1 personal-sized seedless watermelon, cut into chunks * 1 1/2 cups juice (100% juice white grape, apple, cranberry or grape) * 2 packages Knox gelatine * 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit, cut into chunks (I used peaches, plums, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries) 1. Fill your blender with watermelon chunks (about 4 cups, loosely packed). Blend 1 minute until you have a thick liquid. 2.  Strain juice into a small saucepan (you’ll have about 2 cups of juice). (Throw away the pulp) 3. Sprinkle gelatine on watermelon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes. 4.  Heat watermelon mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes until gelatine is dissolved. 5. Stir in juice.  Pour half of the mixture into a small 9X9 glass pan and put in the fridge for 90 mins. Leave remaining mixture on the counter at room temp. 6. Take out of fridge, sprinkle with fresh fruit, then cover with the remaining watermelon mixture. 7.  Put it back in fridge and let...

Kid-Friendly Taco Kit

Corn tortillas 1 bag frozen corn 1 carton grape tomatoes 1 bunch fresh basil 2 ripe avocados 1 bunch fresh cilantro 1 lime shredded Tillamook (That’s Oregonian for cheese) 1 lb chicken, pan-fried or grilled 1 jar of salsa 1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and cook. Set aside half (for the kids who say everything is “too spicy”) and pour 1/2 cup salsa over the remaining. Stir in then set aside. 2. While chicken is cooking, pour frozen corn into a large bowl. (This is for corn salad) 3. Quarter the grape tomatoes and put half of them into the bowl with the corn 4. Put the other half of the tomatoes into a separate large bowl. (This is for basic guacamole) 5. Halve the avocados and scoop the insides out into the bowl with the quartered tomatoes. 6. Finely chop the basil and cilantro and add to both the corn salad and the guacamole, reserving some extra cilantro aside for a taco topper. 7. Mash the guacamole, then season both the guacamole and the corn salad with salt, pepper and lime juice. 8. Let your kids build their own taco kits by layering chicken (either with or without salsa), corn salad, guacamole, cheddar cheese and cilantro onto corn...

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