side dish

Best Veggie Dip

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Oh friends! This is SO easy and SO good. So easy that I have never even used actual measurements before and it always turns out great - don't worry I figured it out for you guys! And its SO good - like it goes great with any veggie and it is dangerous when used as a dip for ruffles chips. Hope you enjoy it! 

 

Ingredients: 

1 c cottage cheese

1/2 c sour cream

2 Tbl ranch dip mix

Measure and mix! It’s that simple and superb! 

Nut Butter Dip

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Ingredients:
1 c nut butter, your choice (I love almond) 1/4 c almond milk
1 Tbl coconut oil
2 Tbl maple syrup

Add all ingredients into blender and pulse a few times until mixed.

Great for dippings things like apples & celery. Yummy on toast and anywhere else you would love to add a little nutty sweetness!

Favorite Way To Eat an Orange

Eating oranges like this is a little nostalgic for me. My Dad used to prepare them like this for me as a kid. It is the perfect way to sink you teeth into the juiciness PLUS it makes them super easy to eat for both big and little mouths.

Score a small circle around the top and bottom of the orange. Remove the middle of the peel. Then slice them in half. It's simple and it makes eating oranges fun. 

You can easily score an orange with a knife but an actual orange scorer is way fun and makes getting into an orange very easy for kids. I got the one below at my local grocery store for 50 cents. Yep thats two quarters. Since when has anything useful only cost 50 cents!?!

Beets and Beet Greens

Beets!  OH my goodness!  I love beets in all forms! When you ask my kids what their favorite veggie is, they will probably tell you beets. They love the beets and the beet greens. They love the taste and are super encouraged to eat a lot of them because beets in large quantities does something interesting to your alone time in the bathroom. They think it is hilarious that beets have the power to tint waste. SO, nonetheless, that is one of the things they tell friends who may be at our house trying beets for the first time in their lives!  Kids love that topic. Whatever. Sometimes I feel like, SERIOUSLY? And sometimes their amusement makes me laugh right along side them!

In fact there is a funny story that floats around people that know me well. And it is telling so I will oblige in sharing with you.  So my oldest at the time was at a friends house. He.was probably 10 at the time.  The friends Mom, Allison, decided to cook some beet greens. She did this only because her father-in-law brought them over. He grew them and wanted to share. Allison, however, had never tried them in her life and was a little unsure of the popularity they would have in her house. Hoping for the best she followed the simple instructions to boil them. When they were done she thought she would get a pretty wild reaction out of all the kids. She took the pot of cooked beet greens and a spoon near the kids. When they could see her she.jokingly lifted a spoonful of dripping greens and said, "Hey kids, does anyone want beet greens?" She said she was surprised when my oldest looked up an answered her eagerly in the affirmative, that yes he would like some and that he loved beet greens! She tells this story among friends and we laugh.

I am surprised at how many people I encounter that haven't even tried beets outside of the canned things that await you at the salad bar. OH if you are one of these, you are missing out!! Thanks to my garden loving family and grandparents I grew up with beets as a staple. If you try them you just might love them like we do. Don't be scared. They are easy and my mouth is salivating now just trying to describe to you how much I love them!

So I will share with you the way that we eat beats most often at our house.  ALTHOUGH I do love beets in many forms, our favorite & go to way to eat beets, is to boil them and then too serve them with mayo and salt. Like this...

I usually buy a few bunches. We cook the greens within the first two days of having them home and then the beets a few nights later.  The beets without the beet greens keep longer in your fridge, think potato...

So to partake in this goodness just follow these simple instructions.

BEET GREENS

Trim them from the beets. Wash them well and discard any that look like they have seen better days. Then put them all in a large pot with some water in the bottom, add a lid and steam until tender. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Then drain and serve with a little mayo and salt.

BEETS

Cut off the ends and peel. (If you grow them organically you can skip this step and wash them instead. But I only recommend this if you can tell that the skin is thin. Too much skin makes for a more woody taste.) Dice into something resembling one inch cubes. Put them in a large sauce pan and boil until tender. This usually takes about 20 minutes. Then serve hot with mayo and salt!  Ohhhh yum! Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Meringue

What a fantastic blend of flavors!  Each layer is flavored just a little different.  With garlic, cinnamon, salty and sweet all in one dish.  I am so happy to have finally found a sweet potato recipe that to me, is perfection!  This is  an absolute must at our house on Thanksgiving. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Ingredients:

3 lbs orange sweet potato

1½ Tbl cinnamon

1½ tea nutmeg

 

3 lbs white sweet potato

4 cloves garlc, minced

1½ c heavy cream

6 Tbl butter

 

4 egg whites

1/3 sugar

13 oz marshmallow creme

 

Instructions:

Orange Sweet Potato

Peel and chop orange sweet potato, place in a large pot and cover with water.  Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.

White Sweet Potato

Peel and chop white sweet potato, place in a large pot and cover with water.  Mince garlic and add to the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender.

While potatoes are boiling use an electric mixer to beat egg whites.  Add in 1Tbl at a time of sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, meaning you can put a spoon into the mix and when you pull it out a beautiful white peak is left standing.

Drain water from both pots and whip potatoes with ¾ c cream and 3 Tbl butter, separately. Season potatoes to taste.  You can use just salt or you can add garlic salt to the white potatoes and cinnamon to the orange.  Just play with the flavor.

Layer Potatoes in a 15 X 10?? glass pan.  With a rubber spatula, fold marshmallow crème into egg white mixture.  Then add to the top of the potatoes. 

Place in an oven heated to 400º.  Heat until potatoes are warm and meringue turns golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Kimberly Larsen

Grandpa's Battered Eggplant

This recipe is a family favorite!  I am going to post it two ways.  One is the original recipe where Grandpa used bisquick to make his batter.  The alternative is using a blender and probably 10 more minutes of your time to make your own batter.  This option is a more healthy approach to Grandpas incredible invention that still lives on today!  

Dang, Grandpa was such an incredible cook!  We all loved his "garden lunches" jam packed with everything coming from the large incredible garden that he and Grandma produced successfully every year.  I have a lot to live up to and love the influence of these two beautiful people in my life.

Red Pepper & Mango Quinoa

Red Pepper & Mango Quinoa

Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites

4 cups chilled cooked quinoa (about 1 1/3 dry quinoa)

1.5 cups black beans (1/2c dry or 1 14 oz can)

3 clamshell mangos -chopped

2 red peppers – chopped

6 green onions - chopped

1 cup cilantro - chopped

 ½ cup red wine vinegar

3 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs fresh lime juice and zest

Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

 

Add all ingredients to bowl and toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste!