Peppermint Mocha Cookies

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Any dessert that can be turned into a cookie is okay by me! Originally, this was just going to be a peppermint chocolate cookie. I got the idea because I wanted a special cookie to make for my kids while we watched The Polar Express. But those plans changed even though my cookie-making plans did not! This Christmas I’ve decided we’re not doing any sort of “special” school or prepared advent devotional for homeschoolers (though I am doing an adult one just for myself). I just can’t stress myself out with any added homeschool activities this year. I have four kids at home including a newborn and I work part-time. So this Christmas I’m giving myself a break from “special” school and as many outside activities as possible and we’re simply relaxing. To us, this means baking, watching movies, and reading books! One of the best gifts I can give my kids this year is a stress-free Mama! Without the agenda of feeling like we have to do an activity or Christmas lesson everyday, we are free to let the days come as they may and do what we please. So today, it pleased us to make some cookies and watch a movie (though not The Polar Express because we decided we’re watching that in our pajamas on Saturday morning with Daddy). 🙂

So as I set out gathering the ingredients for what I envisioned to be peppermint chocolate cookies, I spotted the instant coffee granules in the pantry with the rest of my baking items. Since coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, I picked up the canister. I wasn’t fully committed to using it yet, but I took it out just in case. Then, while I had the kids adding and stirring the other ingredients, I suddenly decided to add a tablespoon of instant coffee. We were now making MOCHA cookies, not just chocolate cookies. A-MAZING. I had no idea how this idea would really play out, but who cares? We’re stress-free this year, right?! I let all three kids plus myself test out the cookie dough and I could taste the coffee so distinctly that it actually reminded me of a mocha latte. I instantly knew these were a hit and couldn’t wait to try the final product.

These peppermint mocha cookies are so yummy! They will make a great addition to your holiday cookie repertoire. I actually made a maple pecan coffee to enjoy with mine, but they’ll go great with any latte or a glass of milk or eggnog! (The Ninja Coffee Bar recipe book has a great recipe for “coffee nog” that is delicious and is a great pair with ANY cookie, but especially ones with a hint of coffee!)

  • 2 cups flourIMG_1876
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TB instant coffee
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • crushed peppermint candies

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together and then add the eggs, vanilla, and instant coffee. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips. Place dollops of dough on baking sheets for the cookies and bake at 350* for about 10 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top so it sticks to the hot cookies.

Here’s the printable! peppermint mocha cookies

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans and Homemade Caramel Sauce

10801666_10155062170015221_7583895898096585140_nThanksgiving is the food holiday. We all know this. It is the quintessential day for cooking, baking, and eating all sorts of autumn foods. It is the ideal holiday for me to host because I LOVE to cook and bake and I love fall. The problem is, I don’t have a house big enough to host my whole family… yet. But my husband and I have always said that when we buy our next house, it will be big enough to host Thanksgiving. That’s one of our essential criteria. I did host one year when we had a “fluke” year and the whole family couldn’t be together. I loved it. People came and went and we got to see lots of friends and family for different parts of the meal. It was fabulous. But I still long to host my entire family for a beautiful Thanksgiving feast.

Until then, I enjoy experimenting with different recipes for my “would be” Thanksgiving. And instead of having one big meal where we stuff ourselves too full to really appreciate all the aspects of the feast, I try something new here and there and we break it in with a simple meal where we’re already familiar with the other components. Then we can really appreciate and critique the new recipe. We have Thanksgiving “month” in a way. Here is one of the recipes I tried lately. We love ourselves some good cheesecake so why not make it pumpkin? And I frequently make homemade caramel sauce, so why not combine the two? I added the pecan component in the crust and topping because it’s another flavor of Thanksgiving and one of my favorite nuts. So if you’re looking for something different to try for your Thanksgiving dessert, look no further! It got our stamp of approval! And although I’m not in charge of dessert this year, my mom is and after she tried this cheesecake at our house, she decided she’s going to make it so I passed along the recipe.

I so wish I had a good picture of it, but I don’t. A new camera is on my Christmas wishlist! 😉 Just close your eyes and imagine the cool, creamy cheesecake filling in a nice, crunchy crust just dripping with luscious caramel sauce and toasted pecans! The handy printable is at the end of the post for your convenience.

Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ cup pecan crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick melted salted butter

Filling:

  • 3(8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsps vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • ½ tsp of kosher salt

Pulse the graham crackers and pecans in a food processor until ground together. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter and pulse until combined. Press into the bottom of a greased 9” spring form pan.

Whip the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, sour cream, and sugar and whip until combined. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, flour, and vanilla and whip together until smooth. Pour over the crust.

Cover the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil and wrap it up the sides of the pan. Place it in a water bath of warm water and bake at 350* for an hour and a half, or until baked through.

For the caramel sauce, start by melting the butter on the stove in a medium saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add the heavy cream and simmer (stirring occasionally) for about 10 minutes, or until thickened. Add the vanilla and salt and let cool.

Toast some pecans in a skillet on the stove. Pour over some of the caramel sauce to “candy” the nuts. Cook down for a few minutes. Pour the pecans (and extra caramel) over a slice of cheesecake!

Here’s your printable: pumpkin cheesecake

August 15 — recipes of summer

The other night we pretended to be southern and indulged in fried chicken, corn on the cob, green beans, potato salad, and buttermilk biscuits for dinner. And we couldn’t finish half of it. It’s still somehow hard for me to learn to not cook so much some nights! I’m sure in about 10 years I’ll have to cook that much since we’ll have four “teens” in the house, but in the meantime, there’s leftovers. And biscuits and gravy for breakfast! I’ve been boldly frying chicken for a few years now and I haven’t strayed from Ree Drummond’s recipe (though I don’t have to look it up anymore). The chicken comes out golden and crispy every time and thoroughly cooked and juicy! There’s something about standing in the kitchen and frying chicken that makes me feel like life’s simpler than it is. And my kids LOVE it, which is always a good thing! We mix honey and butter to smear on the biscuits and we’re instantly transported to another place and time as we sit around the dinner table talking and eating with our hands. Even though this meal heats of the kitchen pretty well, I still feel like it’s a summer meal.

We’ve been eating some good summer food around here, lately, and getting creative with our summer beverages! I’ve been wanting to try a new drink for some time now and finally Randy and I made the latest coffee craze for ourselves–maybe you’ve heard of it.  Imagine combining iced coffee and lemonade?! Yep. Try that and you’re officially “hip.” 😉 Here’s how it worked: I combined our iced coffee (leftover and refrigerated from our morning pot–but you could also use cold brew, and what would probably be better is a cold brew espresso or something nice and strong), the juice of one lemon, some sweetened condensed milk, and topped it off with some club soda. It was actually pretty good! It was a coffee version of the “spritzer” drinks we’ve been having all summer. I served it alongside some lava cakes I’d been dying to make so we could have a “special” evening. Typical Wednesday night around here. 😉

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I first read about this new trend in a magazine and ever since, I’ve seen it pop up online here and there. Worth a try!

With summer slipping away (I know, say it isn’t so!), I felt compelled to make a berry pie before the season is completely gone. I feel like it’s the quintessential summer dessert and I couldn’t believe I had let so much time go by before actually making one! Here’s the thing, with three small children and pregnancy fatigue getting to me, it’s not easy to slip into the kitchen and bake something for fun. Whenever I watch one of those cooking shows, I always wonder why I feel jealous of the person I’m watching cook–it can’t be because I don’t know what I’m doing in the kitchen, because I do! And I think I have a pretty good set up and equipment, so what is it that makes me long to be inside that show and not cooking in my own kitchen??? Oh yeah, it’s the fact that I always have kids running around me making it nearly impossible to concentrate! 😉 So when my parents offered to take the two older kids out for the afternoon while the one-year-old napped, I knew what I would be doing with my free time–baking a pie! And not-so-amazingly, it took way less time to accomplish than I’m used to! Ah, the magic of kid-free kitchen time! So I concocted this recipe for a Triple Berry Pie and served it with homemade vanilla ice cream. So delicious! So summer!

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 TB confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • salt (just a pinch)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsps vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor and pulse. Add the egg, vinegar, and water and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. Divide into 2 disks and wrap both in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

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For the filling:

Combine 1-2 pounds strawberries (de-stemmed and halved), 1 pint raspberries, and 1 pint blackberries. (You can adjust amounts based on your personal berry preference.) 😉 Add about a cup of sugar and let sit in the refrigerator for an hour. (This will allow the juices to come out of the fruit and can be drained off for a less soupy pie.)

Drain the juice from the fruit and then add a 1/2 cup of sugar, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 3 TBs tapioca flour, and sprinkle in some cinnamon. Mix well.

Roll out one of the dough disks and place in a pie pan. Pour in the fruit filling. With the second disk, I like to roll it out and cut strips to weave together a lattice top crust.

Once the pie is assembled, brush it with an egg wash (combine 1 egg and a little water), and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425* with a foil collar for 30 minutes, and then remove the collar, reduce the heat to 375*, and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes.

IMG_1679Allow to cool before cutting into the pie. Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both)! And enjoy these last few weeks of summer before it’s all just a delicious memory… 🙂

Triple Berry Pie

Almond Cheesecake Brownies

IMG_1538Almond Cheesecake Brownies. Oh. My. Heavens. These ARE Heaven.

There are a million brownie recipes out there. And to think, I used to believe that using the box mix was making them “from scratch” because you weren’t buying them already made at the store–HA! I’ve come a long way. 😉

I have a tried a number of brownie recipes over the years and I have my favorites. But when Randy told me he wanted me to make him brownies for Father’s Day, I knew it was time to write my own recipe. The request to incorporate cream cheese into the brownies came as well. Challenge accepted. I came up with a plan that was actually quite delicious! I decided to make a cheesecake batter to spread throughout the brownie batter. But the real kicker would be to incorporate Randy’s favorite dessert flavor–almond. So instead of vanilla extract in the cheesecake, I used almond extract. Win! Almond has a distinct and powerful flavor so generally, you don’t need that much of it. However, I did use 2 whole teaspoons in this recipe because the chocolate of the brownie is so rich that I didn’t want it to hide the almond flavor. But if you want a more subtle almond flavor, only use 1 teaspoon. And if you want to replace the almond extract altogether with vanilla, just use 1 teaspoon of vanilla. 😉

IMG_1541My recipe for these brownies comes together from a lot of tasty research. I wanted to put something together that was relatively simple, but also rich and decadent. And the inspiration, of course, comes from my one and only. 🙂

IMG_1540Grab a tall glass of cold milk and enjoy!

Almond Cheesecake Brownies

Brownies:

  • ½ lb butter
  • 8 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TB instant coffee
  • 1 TB vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

 Cheesecake:

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350*.

Over a double-boiler, melt the butter, the semisweet chocolate, and the unsweetened chocolate. Stir until smooth and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, stir the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar together.

Combine the chocolate and sugar mixtures and stir well.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder and add to the chocolate/sugar mixture.

Pour batter into a greased 9×12 pan.

In a food processor, combine the softened cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and almond extract. Whip until smooth.

Add dollops of the cheese mixture into the pan of batter and spread or swirl together with a knife.

Bake 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and then enjoy!

Here’s your handy printable! almond cheesecake brownies

 

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A Nod to the Ol’ Food Blog…

IMG_1433I haven’t posted about food in a while. Granted, I’ve been nauseous for the past 5 months, but I’ve also had a lot going on. And it takes a lot of effort to photograph food when you have three hungry kids plus a husband waiting to eat. I seriously don’t know how I used to write about food almost daily! And take pictures! I’m glad I don’t feel the weight of that blog journey anymore, but I do miss writing about and photographing food. There have been a few times the past couple of months when I’ve made something special and wanted to blog about it but just didn’t have the energy to try to capture a good picture and put the recipe into print. But I decided it was time. So I’m about to have a food-explosion blog post and hope you’re ready for it! 🙂

We’ve got some hot weather around the corner, and the changing of seasons always gets me excited about what new dishes I’m going to create in the kitchen that will satisfy the seasonal cravings. (Think: fruit pies, tarts, grilled food, pasta and potato salads! Yeah, summer!) I realize that cooking in the summer does not appeal to most people, even if you have air conditioning, so I wanted to share some of my tips to beat the heat and still provide a filling dinner for your family.

During summer, I love making a good pasta or potato salad because I can cook the pasta or potatoes early in the morning and assemble the salad before it gets too hot, and stick it in the fridge. Then, when my husband comes home from work, he can throw some meat on the grill (which he loves to do) and we have a perfectly hearty side to go with it and don’t have to heat up the kitchen! One pasta salad I’ve made quite a few times just in the last month, is my spring asparagus salad. It’s so refreshing and has a light oil/vinegar dressing rather than a creamy one, so it doesn’t weigh you down.

To make a classic potato salad (which I just made a couple days ago and planned to take a picture, but someone in the house ate the all the leftovers before I was able to stage an appealing photo–then told me to make sure I wrote about how it’s so good that you can’t leave it in the refrigerator unattended or it will be gobbled up…) I start by quartering a whole bag of red potatoes. Then I boil them just until fork-tender (about 15-20 minutes) and then drain and steam them under a towel for an additional 20 minutes. For the dressing, I combine just under a cup of mayonnaise, about a 1/4 cup of buttermilk, plenty of salt and pepper, and 2-3 TBs of freshly chopped dill*. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still warm, I cut them up and add them to the dressing. I also add a quarter of a red onion, chopped, and about 2 stalks of celery, chopped. As you can see, I’m not one to do a lot of measuring these days, so I apologize if you prefer exact measurements. The onion and celery can be added “to taste” depending on how much crunch you want in your salad and how much you like the taste of onion or celery. If you want some real specific measurements, Ina Garten has a few potato salad recipes with exact measurements and they’re pretty fool-proof!

IMG_1442*What else can you do with fresh DILL?! You know that pesky ingredient that you only bought to go with that one recipe and now you have leftovers of it in your fridge and you don’t know what to do with it? Unless you’re really into pickling your own cucumbers, dill can be like that. I do make a lot of potato salad in the summer, so I generally grow dill in my garden, but we’ve had such cool weather until now, I haven’t started the garden yet! Ina Garten has a recipe for cheddar-dill scones which is a scrumptious way to use up that dill! The recipe calls for a full cup of chopped dill, but you certainly don’t need that much, you’ll still get some of the flavor with less of the herb.

IMG_1438So I also thought I’d share some of our dinner plans for the week. I try to meal plan in order to save money at the grocery store and stay organized throughout the week. The links to these recipes all take you to my old food blog, which is still active, though I never use it. There are TONS of recipes on there, so you might see more than one thing to try! And if you’re looking for food ideas in the sweltering heat, here are a few options…

I work on Mondays and usually pick up my groceries (LOVE Hannaford To-Go!) on my way home, so dinner needs to be relatively simply. Temps are in the 90s today so we’re sticking with a HEARTY pita-pocket salad and watermelon. NO OVEN! 😉 Tomorrow night we’ll be grilling up some pork ribs, I’ll make a potato salad early in the morning to serve at night and we’ll try out some corn on the cob. I know it’s early in the season, but I couldn’t resist! Wednesday the temps should be a little cooler, so the stove is going back on but we’re still keeping it simple: cheese and pepperoni stromboli with a Greek salad.  Thursday, we’ll have chicken caesar sandwiches, and Friday I’m serving up Western pizza! Simple dishes to get us through the work-week. This weekend is Father’s Day weekend so it’s all about what Randy wants to eat! (But let’s be honest, it almost always is anyway–he’s my true inspiration for cooking.) But specifically for this weekend, he’s requested a veggie garden pizza lunch, steak tips supper, and on Sunday, my famous carbonara with caesar salad (and my homemade dressing) and bruschetta for his after-church dinner. Oh, and I’m also supposed to make homemade brownies with a twist–I’ll fill you in after I decide how good his idea comes out. 😉 Whew! A viewer once asked the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) if she had any tips for starting a food blog and she said to buy a treadmill! I can totally relate–haha! I did gain some weight while doing that year-long food blog of mine so now I have to be smarter about how I balance my meals and activity because so far, my love of cooking hasn’t died down. Hopefully you enjoy this weather and have some inspiration for future summer meals and check out my old blog–whenever I randomly stop by, I still get inspired to make something I haven’t made in a while!

 

Is there TIME for that?

Can I just say, I LOVE our homeschool curriculum! It’s seriously awesome. There are many things to love about a curriculum, but one thing I’m thankful for today is the amount of time that’s allotted for free exploration, and fun, hands-on activities. This curriculum does a great job making room for “margin space” in homeschool life. I’m in a moms’ Bible study and last night we were talking about how much margin we leave in our lives for the unexpected, or the “fun” stuff that can present itself when we’re not prepared for it. Are we expecting the unexpected? Are we leaving enough margin in our daily schedules to allow for hiccups, or for playing with our kids even when we have other things to do? Do we have enough margin for things to take longer than expected and not get upset over it? These are questions we had to ask ourselves. It’s a struggle for me, sometimes. I’m a planner, but I’m working hard to not be an over-planner. I’m learning the value in saying “no” and leaving enough margin in my schedule. Although I typically start my day with some sort of plan for how it will go, I’m now asking God daily to give me the grace to accept and embrace the changes that come–the ones I haven’t planned for.

I’m the type of mom who searches for ways to make learning fun and to incorporate all the senses when possible. I love doing crafts, experimenting in the kitchen, and enjoying our tasty experiments! I love exploring outside when we can. So I love that our curriculum includes an “exploration day” every week (also helpful when the week doesn’t go quite as planned–there’s a cushion day). And I love that it schedules in fun, interesting, hands-on activities throughout the week that go with what we’re learning (like having a family Sabbath celebration, or measuring Noah’s ark in cubits, or using clay and toothpicks to build our own “Tower of Babel”). I like that I don’t have to come up with all the fun and interesting stuff as “add-ins” because they’ve already included a bunch for me!

IMG_20170427_121427722So today, after a week of beginning to learn to tell time, we made a clock pizza! And it was scheduled right into our curriculum. I happen to have a fruit pizza recipe that is better than the suggestion given (which used actual pizza crust, whereas mine uses a sugar cookie crust–yum!) so I used that and we made an educational and delightful treat! Nice to have the time to do these things together. 🙂 Doesn’t mean the whole day was perfect or that on other days, we don’t get to the fun part that I’m looking forward to, but today was a gift. And no matter what comes, planned or unplanned, tomorrow will be, too.

*The curriculum we use is My Father’s World. I fell in love with it at a homeschool convention 2 years ago. I wouldn’t be so bold to say it’s a perfect curriculum, but it’s perfect for us, right now. You can check it out here: mfwbooks.com

IMG_20170427_121029268This FRUIT PIZZA is a great dessert for any spring/summer gathering and is SUPER easy to make. Even a pretty nauseous pregnant lady with 3 little kids running around can whip it up in no time.

IMG_20170427_121232446I use Pillsbury sugar cookie dough for the crust. They come in squares, now, so I lay them all out on a greased pizza stone and then roll them together using powdered sugar instead of flour to prevent sticking. Then I bake according to the package instructions, but usually have to add a few more minutes since we’re making one giant cookie, here!

For the “sauce”:  – 8 oz cream cheese (softened), 1 TB vanilla, 1 TB milk, 2 TB apricot preserves, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, drizzle of honey. Whip together with a hand mixer until smooth.

Spread the “sauce” over the cooled cookie, and then decorate with fruit! Today I used blueberries, sliced strawberries, and sliced kiwis. Sometimes I add grapes. Blueberries made great numbers for our clock. What a fun snack for all of us!

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Super Bowl on the Whole30

img_20170205_193458When most people start a “diet”, food program, or some sort of “cleanse”, we generally start on a Monday: after the weekend, right?  I mean, who wants to start eating right on a Friday?! What a waste of a perfectly good food-indulging weekend! We all want one last food “hurrah” before the “transformation” begins, and then come Monday, we start getting organized/in shape/eat right/whatever.  If you’re doing a longer food regimen like the Whole30, or something that you plan to carry over into some lasting habits–no matter when you start–you’ll hit a weekend and that’s where the test really begins.  Sure, it’s not so hard to get through the weekdays in a new routine.  Maybe you go to bed early to avoid late-night snacking. You have light meals and distract yourself from more daytime snacking by occupying yourself with work.  This doesn’t seem so hard!  And then the weekend comes.  Maybe you had plans to go out, enjoy company with friends, or just want to veg on the couch with the hubby and order take-out, eat ice cream, and have a glass of wine (or margarita)!  But all of that is dampened by food restrictions.  (This is one reason I’m not a fan of dieting for the sake of dieting, or long-term food-deprivation.  We live in such a food-centered society, it’s hard to really enjoy ourselves in social situations without food.  Good food.)  For me, food I love is a huge part of my enjoyment of life.  My Whole30 is not about weight-loss, or because of “issues” with any kind of food.  For me, it’s been an experiment and a hopeful minor lifestyle change.  I’ve wanted to see if my energy levels would change with a diet change (they have) and I hope to incorporate healthier lunches and snacks and be able to keep my everyday diet a priority in my life.  (It can be too easy to snack on processed foods or to take bites of my kids’ lunches rather than make myself a salad.  And don’t even get me started on my old “late-night snacking” habits!)

Anyway, I got through my first 2 weekends pain-free.  Of course, I wished I could indulge in some take-out or dessert with Randy on the couch while watching a movie or playing a game (I went with a few handfuls of almonds, instead), but all-in-all, they were good weekends.  When I planned for the Whole30, I had no plans on the weekends, but that quickly changed.  I learned to use restraint but be polite (which was hard on the first weekend when the homemade oreo ice cream came out!), and to pack my own snacks and be creative with what I could eat!  This has been a fun adventure.

img_20170205_193300Come Super Bowl Sunday, I knew I would need to be equipped with some awesome appetizer recipes so I could still enjoy the event.  (Events of the actual mind-blowing game aside, this is about food.) 😉  Here are some of my “healthy” Whole30 compliant recipes that were enjoyed by all on game night!  You can use them for your next gathering whether you’re on the Whole30 or not, because they’re delicious.  Trust me! 😉

Homemade Salsa & Guacamole

My recipes for homemade salsa and guacamole are naturally Whole30 compliant.  That’s what made them so perfect.  Actually, I do typically add a pinch of sugar to the salsa to cut through the bitterness of the tomatoes, but I just skipped that this time.  My trick when I’m making these two dips together is to use the food processor for the salsa first, then without cleaning it out, I start the guacamole right away in the same processor.  That way, the guacamole gets a hint of the salsa flavors in it.  So yummy!

Salsa (Measurements can be to your taste, depending on how strong you want your flavors)

  • 1/2 (or whole) onion, quartered

    img_20170205_193429
    Let’s talk about the chips!  No tortilla chips on the Whole30!  Technically, chips of any kind go against the philosophy of eating whole foods, foods with minimal ingredients.  But because these veggie chips (left) didn’t have any actual out-of-bounds ingredients, I made an exception.  Because, Super Bowl. PSA: One Potato Two Potato makes an excellent sweet potato chip!  I’ve only seen them at Starbucks so far.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 (or whole) jalapeño, roughly chopped
  • handful of cilantro
  • 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp hot sauce

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired smoothness.  Test with a tortilla chip before pouring into a bowl!  You never know if you’ll have to adjust something.

Guacamole

  • 4-5 avocados, ripened
  • 1/4-1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 (or whole) jalapeño, roughly chopped
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsps salt
  • juice of 1 lime

Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired smoothness.

Stuffed Jalapeños

img_20170205_193354Normally when I stuff jalapeños, it’s with cream cheese.  That’s obviously a Whole30 no-no, so I came up with this little concoction instead.  To make the turkey sausage, I followed this Whole30 recipe (click the link below), which I love for breakfast sausage with my scrambled eggs.  So bonus, I only used part of the sausage in my jalapeño stuffing, and I was able to save the rest for some breakfasts this week!  

  • 10 jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed (use gloves!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed with salt, pepper, and ghee (clarified butter, whole30 approved)
  • crumbled turkey sausage
  • 10 strips Whole30 compliant bacon, cut in half

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes and the sausage.  Spread the mixture into each jalapeño half.  Wrap in a half strip of bacon and place on a rack, on top of a baking sheet.  Bake at 275* for 2 hours.  Serve hot.

I found these other 2 recipes, as well, which were a huge hit with me and our guests.

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip  img_20170205_181916495

Chile Lime Chicken Wings

And here are the printables for my salsa, guacamole, and jalapeños!   Enjoy!

salsa-guacamole

whole30-stuffed-jalapenos