Minted Pea Dip

I know it has been FOREVER since we have posted to our blog.  This recipe inspired me to post.  I found it on a great blog my sister-in-law told me about called

This recipe is so easy and so delicious and to top it all off–good for you too!

2 Cups frozen peas (defrosted)

Zest of one lemon

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, chopped (if you add this to the food process first, you can avoid having to chop it.)

1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons tahini

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1.  With the food processor running, add the garlic clove until finely chopped.  Add the rest of the ingredients and puree.

2. Serve with crostini and/or raw crudites.  If you assemble the dip on crostini, you can also shave pecorino or parmesan on top of each hors d’oeuvre or sprinkle grated cheese on top and drizzle a good olive oil over all of them.



Minted Pea Dip


Pear Cranberry Avocado Quinoa


This is a perfect dish for the Fall. It tastes very  much like guacamole (It really does, really!). I read a tip on pinterest about soaking quinoa for a few minutes prior to cooking it and rubbing it with your fingers to release the bitter taste into the water that you then rinse off. This tip was helpful as the quinoa was not bitter at all. Feel free to be creative with additions into your quinoa recipes. Quinoa is so versatile. It is healthy, easy, quick, and delicious. I will be making this again for my family soon.


1 cup quinoa (soaked in water for 3 minutes and rinsed well)

1 and 1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon cumin

kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, rinsed and chopped

2 green onions, rinsed and chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

1 pear, diced

1/2 large avocado, diced

Soak quinoa for a few minutes (3-5) and rub quinoa seeds between your fingers to release bitter coating. Rinse well and place in a saucepan with water. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain excess water. Place quinoa in a large salad bowl and add remaining ingredients. Toss. Serve. Enjoy!






Chipotle Mashed Potatoes

Great for Thanksgiving or any time of year.

This recipe is adapted from Pati’s Mexican Table, a great show on Create. Here is a link to her original recipe.

I made these for Thanksgiving dinner and they were delicious but I like to make them any time of year. I use two chiles from a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (or Chiles Chipotles Adobados) by La Costena. These chiles are my new favorite ingredient. You can add them to tortilla soup, enchiladas, tacos, chalupas, etc. The flavor is warm, sweet, spicy, and complex. If you want to tone down the spiciness but maintain the rich flavor, simple rinse the seeds out of the chile prior to adding it your food. For my version, I use one complete chile, seeds and all and one rinsed chile (seeds removed). This level of spice works for my family although I reserve a little extra on the side to add extra spice for myself.

1 bag (2 lbs) small red potatoes

3 tablespoons butter

5 scallions/green onions, chopped (white part and the light green part), save the stem parts for a garnish

2 chiles from a can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. chopped

1/2 cup milk

kosher salt and pepper to taste


Rinse and drain potatoes. Pat dry. Cut into quarters. In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add potatoes and cook for 20 minutes in boiling water until cooked and soft. In a large skillet, melt butter (or olive oil). Add in scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are soft and translucent. Add chopped chiles. Add the cooked potatoes and add milk in slowly until mixture is well blended. Potatoes will be chunky. Garnish with chopped stems of scallions. Enjoy!

Easy Sauteed Brussel Sprouts

I made these tonight. While I love to cook vegetables and am proud that my kids eat them well, I had never made brussel sprouts before and I was a little nervous. I made broccoli as well just in case. The verdict? There was a little broccoli left over but no sprouts. Yay!

1 package/1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts

2 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil

splash of balsamic vinegar and/or red wine

kosher salt/ freshly ground pepper

crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon honey

Rinse, dry, and slice brussel sprouts into halves. Add oil to a cast iron skillet and heat on medium high to high heat. Add brussel sprouts and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and/or wine and the remaining ingredients. Toss to coat. Cover and cook at a reduced heat (low) for 10 minutes until tender.



Roasted Sweet Potato Tostadas


Whether you call them chalupas or tostadas, this recipe will be a hit with your family. Take chalupa shells (purchase baked ones or toast corn tortillas in the oven until hard and crispy) and top with your favorite toppings such as mashed beans, avocado, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and my new favorite, roasted sweet potatoes. See recipe below.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1-2 garlic cloves


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash, peel, and cut sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place in a large glass or ceramic baking dish. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and add crushed garlic that is well coated in olive oil. Carefully toss. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until pieces are soft and caramelized.



Quinoa, Nectarine, and Snap Pea Salad


This is my new favorite summer and late summer salad!

I made a few changes to the original recipe (substituting orange marmalade for mangy chutney, apple cider vinegar for rice wine vinegar, and salad greens for watercress). I also added diced avocados because I love avocados. I think your family will enjoy this. Mine did! (Even the kids.)


Adapted from: Curried Quinoa Salad with Nectarines and Sugar Snap Peas from July/August edition of Vegetarian Times.


8 oz. fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 Tbs. curry powder

2 and 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar

2 T. orange marmalade

1 and 1/2 T. olive oil

2 small nectarines or peaches cut into wedges

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 cups greens

2 small or 1 large avocado, diced

1. Cook sugar snap peas in sauce pan of boiling salted water 1/2 to 2 minutes or until crisp tender. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate with slotted spoon to drain.

2. Stir quinoa and 1 T.  curry powder into the same pot of boiling water. Cook 14 minutes, or until quinoa is tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile whisk vinegar, marmalade, and 1 T. of curry powder and olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Toss together snap peas, nectarines, onion, and avocado into a large bowl. Add greens.

5. Drain quinoa, and rinse under cold water to cook; drain again. Add quinoa and dressing to salad and toss to  coat.


Eggplant and Fig Pizza on a Cornmeal Crust


This pizza is very similar to the heirloom tomato and ricotta pizza from recent post. I just varied up the ingredients. See link:

I am so glad I discovered these crusts (Vicolo Corn Meal Pizza Crusts) and they are so good. While I like to make my own homemade crust, I don’t always have the time so these are a wonderful alternative. They are even available at HEB! They bake up amazingly using a pizza stone. The crust is dense and crispy. So delicious with seasonal roasted vegetables on top, fresh basil and your favorite cheese! The possibilities are endless!



1 corn meal pizza crust

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into slices

2 figs, cut into slices

1 cup ricotta cheese or goat cheese

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Garlic slices

Olive Oil

2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Bake pizza crust for 15 minutes and remove. Place eggplant slices on a roasting pan with olive oil to coat, and salt and pepper. Allow to roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place eggplant onto pizza crust  along with slices of fig and slices of garlic.  Top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese or goat cheese.  Sprinkle with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, if desired. Add salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chopped, fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!

*Tip for using pizza stone, allow pizza stone to heat in the oven while the oven is preheating. Slice pizzas onto stone when ready cook. Assemble the pizzas on a separate cutting board and transfer assembled pizzas into the oven. Be careful! Remove cooked pizza and transfer to cutting board. Allow pizza stone to slowly cool. Sudden temperature changes may result in cracking of the pizza stone.





Heirloom Tomato and Ricotta Pizza with Cornmeal Crust

Tomato Tart/Pizza

Last week I caught a few minutes of the show “The Chew” and saw a version of this being prepared on a pie crust. I was intrigued. I went out that very afternoon to purchase heirloom tomatoes to recreate this amazing dish. I made one on a pie crust and one on a corn meal crust (pictured above) that I found at Whole Foods that was very appealing to me. My family picked at the tart on the pie crust but devoured the version on the corn meal crust which I highly recommend.  The link to the original recipe is here.

Here is my version which has different crust and some pesto that I had made and needed to use up. Feel free to be creative with your toppings.


1 corn meal pizza crust (purchased at Whole Foods)

3 medium sized heirloom tomatoes (varying in size and color)

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup fresh pesto

2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Bake pizza crust for 15 minutes and remove. Slice tomatoes and lay them on roasting pan with olive oil to coat, and salt and pepper. Allow to roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place tomatoes onto pizza crust and top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Drizzle pesto. Add salt and pepper if needed. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chopped, fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!

Easy Pad Thai

Easy Pad Thai

I absolutely love Thai food. Ditto for my family. And while we love going out for Thai, it is fun and easy to make Thai dishes at home too. Here is a very simple recipe.

8 ounces dried flat rice noodles/pad thai noodles (I like Annie Chun’s Brown Rice Pad Thai noodles which I found at HEB)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

juice of 2 medium sized limes plus wedges for serving

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sriracha or chili oil

2 teaspoons grapeseed, peanut, or sesame oil (or combination of two or three)

8 scallions, chopped (separate white from green parts)

3 garlic cloves

2 large eggs

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

4 shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

Soak noodles according to package directions and rain. In a small bowl or pyrex measuring cup, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and chili sauce. Heal oil over medium high heat. ( I used a cast iron skillet.) Add white part of scallions and stir fry for a minute or two. Add eggs and scramble until set. Transfer to a plate. Add noodles, scallion greens, and sauce to skillet. Cook and toss until noodles are soft (1 to 2 minutes). Add eggs and toss to coat, breaking up eggs. Serve noodles and top with lime wedges, cilantro, carrots, peanuts and an additional spoonful of chili sauce if desired.



Pad Thai ingredients


Easy Pad Thai

Link to original recipe that I adapted.

Preserving Herbs

Frozen Cilantro and Olive OIl

I love using fresh herbs but soon (hard to believe) summer will be over and my herb garden will be spent until next spring. My cilantro plant turns to seed in the early summer as soon as the temperature rises. My basil is thriving and I love adding basil to pizzas, salads, soups, etc. and cilantro to that food dishes and Mexican food such as homemade beans.I also prefer the taste of fresh herbs to dried ones as the flavor is just not quite the same. Since my herb garden is abundant right now, I am going to get to work in making these olive oil herb ” ice cubes” before the summer is over.

I made these will a little help from some little ones and their help was much appreciated! If you have kids, I highly recommend enlisting their help with this project.

busy at work

I bought some ice cube trays (not many have these these days) and had my helpers cut the stems off freshly washed cilantro and place in the trays. Then I poured olive oil into the ice cube trays and froze for a day before removing.


My helpers made the job go quickly!

ready to freeze

 Once frozen I ran the ice cube trays under warm water from the faucet for just a few second and then they popped out easily. I placed cubes in a glass container and labeled it and popped it back into the freezer so I have cilantro ready to go for dishes this Fall and Winter. I plan on doing the same with basil from my garden.

ready for cooking