Saturday, November 25, 2023

French Apple Crunch Tart


I found this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog, where he adapted it from Jacques Pépin. I felt like making an apple dessert, but I didn’t want a heavy cinnamon taste, so this French tart was perfect! I used 2 big Honeycrisp apples and 1 miniature Jazz apple. 

For the dough 
2 cups (280 g) flour 
1 tsp. kosher or flaky sea salt 
¾ cup (6 oz, 170 g) lactose-free butter, cubed and chilled 
 ½ cup ice water, plus a tablespoon or two more, if necessary 

For the apple filling and assembling the tart 
1 ¾-2 lbs. (800-900 g) apples, peeled, cored, and cut in ¼-inch (½-cm) slices 
1-2 Tbsp. granulated sugar (use the lesser amount if the apples you are using are sweet) 
2 ½ Tbsp. (36 g) lactose-free butter, finely cubed 
1 egg yolk, mixed with a teaspoon of milk or water 
2 Tbsp. demerara or turbinado sugar (optional) 

To make the crust, mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also make this by hand in a mixing bowl using a pastry blender or your hands, or make it in a food processor like I do.) Add the chilled butter and mix until the butter pieces are the size of blueberries. Don't overmix; it should be quite lumpy. Add the ice water and stir just until the dough comes together. 

Divide the dough in two, shape both pieces into disks, and wrap and chill them for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to two days ahead.) 

To assemble the tart, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Toss the apple slices with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. 

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop until it's a 14-inch (36-cm) circle. Place the round of dough on the prepared baking sheet. (I fold it in half and work quickly to transfer it then unfold it on the baking sheet, but Jacques Pépin rolls his dough around the rolling pin first, before moving it, and unrolling it on the prepared baking sheet.) Place the apples in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) exposed border. Distribute the diced butter bits over the apples. Fold the outside edges of the dough up and over to tuck in the apples. 

Roll the other disk of dough to the same size as the first. Brush the bottom crust that's folded over the apples liberally with water, then place the second round of dough over the apples and bottom crust, tucking the edges underneath the bottom of the tart. Place the tart on the baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 °F and set the rack in the middle of the oven. Mix the egg yolk with the water or milk in a small bowl and brush it over the top of the tart. Sprinkle the granulated brown sugar evenly over the top, cut four slits in the top and bake until the top is well-browned and crunchy. When done, thick apple juices should be bubbling up in the slit holes, indicating they are cooked. The tart should take about 30 to 35 minutes to bake, depending on the apples and your oven. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then slide onto a wire rack.

Honey Ginger Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa


This recipe for Honey Ginger Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa was wonderful! I adapted it, since I now know that my slow cooker doesn’t heat well enough on the low setting – I cooked this on the high setting instead, for a much shorter time, and everything came out great. I highly recommend it! 

For the pork tacos 
2 lbs. pork shoulder/butt (boneless) 
½ cup soy sauce 
1/3 cup honey 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
4 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated 
1 tsp. cornstarch 
10 taco shells (I always pick soft tortillas) 

For the pineapple salsa 
2 cups fresh pineapple, diced 
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced 
1/3 cup red onions, diced (I used shallot) 
¼ cup cilantro, chopped 
2 Tbsp. jalapeño, seeds removed, diced (I omitted that) 
1 garlic clove, minced (I omitted that too) 
2 Tbsp. lime juice 
1 pinch of salt 

Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray, then place the pork inside. 

Next, make the sauce: whish the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch together, then pour the sauce on top of the pork. 

Slow-cook the pork on LOW for 6 hours (my Instant Pot never quite reaches the right temperature on LOW, so I cooked it on HIGH for 1 hour instead). Shred the pork (it should be very easy by this point), then cook for an additional 30 minutes. 

Mix together all the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and set aside. 

Warm the tortillas, top each one with a big spoonful of the pork and a smaller spoonful of the pineapple salsa. Enjoy!

Fudgy Brownie Cookies


This was originally a recipe for fudgy brownie sandwich cookies from Parents magazine (and it is no longer online). However, since I couldn’t find lactose-free cream cheese here, I used a vegan version – in this case, Miyoko’s cashew cream cheese. The consistency of the frosting was too runny, even though I didn’t use milk. Plus, I was making them to send to school, and then I remembered that this would have gone against my policy of not sending nuts in the kids’ lunchboxes. So I only used the frosting on the one in the photo, and kept all the other cookies plain for the kids’ lunches. These cookies were wonderful, deeply chocolaty, and they freeze very well without frosting! 

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 
¾ cup sugar 
½ cup cocoa powder 
¼ cup cornstarch 
2 Tbsp. honey 
1 egg, at room temperature 
1 Tbsp. coconut oil 
1 ½ tsp. vanilla, divided 
½ tsp. salt 
¼ tsp. baking powder 
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled 
4 oz. lactose-free cream cheese, at room temperature 
1 Tbsp. lactose-free butter 
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted 
1 Tbsp. lactose-free milk (I omitted that) 

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans, sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, honey, egg, coconut oil, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the melted chocolate until a smooth, paste-like mixture forms. 

Drop 2 Tbsp. batter onto a prepared pan and gently spread the batter to form a 2-inch round. (I mean, mine weren’t pretty, but it wasn’t a contest.) Repeat with the remaining batter, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies lose their sheen and crack slightly. Let cool on a wire rack. 

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat until smooth. 

Sandwich 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling between 2 cookies. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in fridge.

Chicken Fajita Salad


OK, I don’t know why I need recipes for simple stuff. I just like following instructions more than winging it, I guess? But anyway, this chicken fajita salad was right up my alley! 

2 Tbsp. canola oil 
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used 1 ½ lbs. of chicken strips) 
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 
1 onion, medium, thinly sliced 
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. chili powder (I used a pinch) 
1 tsp. cumin 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
3 Tbsp. olive oil 
3 Tbsp. lime juice 
1 tsp. brown sugar 
1 tsp. chili flakes 
1 tsp. salt 
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped 
1 avocado, sliced 

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, bell peppers, onion, salt, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder for five minutes, stirring constantly. 

Flip the chicken, and cook for another five minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are slightly soft. Remove from heat and slice the chicken into strips. 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar, chili, and salt, stirring until evenly mixed. 

In a large bowl, toss the romaine lettuce with the chicken, peppers & onions, avocado, and dressing. Enjoy!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Œufs à la turque et courge


J’ai adapté cette recette d’œufs à la turque aux courges de Ricardo pour me faire un dîner. Je me suis inspirée de la version originale partagée dans le magazine (courge rôtie au miel et à la coriandre) : j’ai assaisonné ma courge (une seule) avec du miel, de la coriandre, du cumin, une pincée de piment, du sel et du poivre. Je n’ai pas utilisé le beurre ni fait l’huile au piment. J’ai fait pocher les œufs, j’ai utilisé du yogourt grec et j’ai fait dorer les graines de citrouille dans le reste d’huile à l’ail avant de les saupoudrer de sel. C’était vraiment délicieux! Je partage ci-dessous la recette de Ricardo; libre à vous de l’adapter à votre goût. 

2 courges Delicata moyennes, coupées en deux, les graines retirées et coupées en demi-rondelles de 1 cm (½ po) d’épaisseur 
3 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive 
4 œufs, tempérés 
1 gousse d’ail, tranchée finement 
¼ c. à thé de flocons de piment broyé 
2 c. à soupe de beurre 
1 tasse de yogourt nature 10 % sans lactose 
40 g (1/3 tasse) de fromage feta sans lactose émietté 
2 c. à soupe de graines de citrouille grillées 
fleur de sel 
brins d’aneth, au goût (je n’aime pas ça, alors je n’en ai pas mis) 
4 petits pains naans 

Placer la grille au centre du four. Préchauffer le four à 375 °F. 

Sur une plaque de cuisson antiadhésive ou tapissée de papier parchemin, enrober les courges de 1 c. à soupe de l’huile. Saler et poivrer. Cuire au four 25 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les courges soient tendres et bien colorées. 

Entre-temps, dans une casserole d’eau frémissante, déposer délicatement les œufs à l’aide d’une cuillère. Cuire 5 minutes. Égoutter les œufs. Rincer sous l’eau froide 1 minute. Écaler délicatement les œufs sans les briser. Réserver. 

Entre-temps, dans une petite poêle à feu moyen, dorer l’ail dans le reste de l’huile. Égoutter les chips d’ail sur du papier absorbant en conservant l’huile dans la poêle. Ajouter le piment et mélanger. Retirer du feu, puis ajouter le beurre. 

Répartir le yogourt dans des assiettes. Déposer les rondelles de courges et les œufs. Arroser de l’huile au piment. Garnir du fromage feta, des graines de citrouille et des chips d’ail. Parsemer les œufs de fleur de sel et décorer de brins d’aneth. Accompagner de pains naans.

Ginger-Miso Dressing


I read this newsletter of Dinner A Love Story and the idea for the dressing really stuck in my mind. I omitted the jalapeño and decided to serve the dressing with an improvised Buddha bowl (shredded chicken from the freezer, roasted butternut squash and broccoli, bell pepper, and lettuce). I loved it! 

3 Tbsp. sweet white miso 
1/3 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed; olive oil is fine too if it’s what you’ve got – I used ¼ cup) 
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar 
1 tsp. brown sugar 
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil 
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 

Add all ingredients to a mini food processor and whirl until emulsified and smooth. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, if you need to adjust the consistency to be drizzly.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ginger Lemonade


I don’t make drinks that often. I did take advantage of summer to make this sparkling grapefruit-raspberry lemonade, since the Engineer doesn’t like grapefruit or raspberry but the rest of us did. 

And once back in San Antonio, I made ginger lemonade

So, here’s the thing: because this lemonade is made with ginger and honey in addition to the lemon, it really felt like I was trying to fight a cold, not feel refreshed. That’s not a bad thing, of course, especially considering that one of the kids had brought a cold home from school at the time… I decided to freeze the leftover lemonade in an ice cube tray and I will pull it out when medicinally appropriate. 

3 ½ cups water, divided 
½ cup agave syrup (plus more to taste) 
2/3 cup chopped fresh ginger, peeling optional (clean the skin if you included it, though) 
1 cup lemon juice (5 lemons yield about 1 cup of juice) 
fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional) 

In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup of the water, the agave, and the chopped fresh ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, cook for 10 minutes to extract the ginger flavor. Remove from the heat. 

Meanwhile, to a glass jar or pitcher, add lemon juice and remaining water. Place a strainer over the jar/lemon mixture and pass the ginger syrup through it, removing any small pieces of ginger. Whisk the lemonade well to mix in the ginger syrup, and serve it over ice. Optionally, garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve on its own or as a mixer with tequila, gin, or vodka. 

Lemonade will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or freeze in popsicle molds for a sweet, cold treat! Can also be frozen into ice cubes and added to summer beverages (I’d add it to ginger ale, actually).

Pâtes crémeuses sans produits laitiers

Est-ce que ça commence à faire longtemps que je n’ai pas parlé de Ricardo? Bon ben, voici sa recette de pâtes crémeuses sans produits laitiers. Ici, on obtient le « crémeux » grâce à des panais réduits en purée. Puisqu’ils ont un goût légèrement sucré, il est important d’utiliser la moutarde pour équilibrer le tout. J’ai utilisé 12 onces de pâtes protéinées de marque Barilla. C’était délicieux! 

8 tranches de bacon, coupées en lardons 
225 g (½ lb) de panais, pelés et coupés en fines rondelles 
2 gousses d’ail, coupées en deux 
1 oignon, haché grossièrement 
¼ c. à thé de thym séché 
2 tasses de bouillon de poulet réduit en sodium 
1 c. à soupe de moutarde à l’ancienne 
450 g (1 lb) de linguines ou autres pâtes longues 
30 g (1 tasse) de cresson ou de roquette 

Dans une casserole à feu moyen, cuire le bacon jusqu’à ce qu’il soit bien doré, soit environ 10 minutes. À l’aide d’une écumoire ou d’une cuillère à trous, prélever le bacon et l’égoutter sur une assiette tapissée de papier absorbant. Réserver. 

Dans la même casserole à feu moyen, attendrir les panais, l’ail et l’oignon avec le thym dans le gras du bacon 3 minutes. Saler légèrement. Verser le bouillon. Porter à ébullition. Couvrir et laisser mijoter 10 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le panais soit tendre. Retirer du feu. 

À l’aide d’un mélangeur à main, réduire le mélange de panais en purée lisse. Incorporer la moutarde. Poivrer. Réserver au chaud. 

Entre-temps, dans une autre casserole d’eau bouillante salée, cuire les pâtes al dente. Prélever 1 tasse d’eau de cuisson. Égoutter les pâtes. Remettre les pâtes dans la casserole. 

Ajouter la sauce sur les pâtes et bien mélanger. Ajouter de l’eau de cuisson pour détendre la sauce au besoin. Rectifier l’assaisonnement. 

Répartir les pâtes dans des assiettes creuses. Garnir du bacon et du cresson. Servir aussitôt.

No-Churn Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream


I had some sweetened condensed coconut milk to use up, so I decided to make this no-churn chocolate cherry ice cream. I was unable to find lactose-free cream cheese anywhere, so I had to use vegan cream cheese – while this ice cream was good, I believe it would have been much better with dairy lactose-free cream cheese! Just remember to take the ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving it. 

16-oz. bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (about 3 cups) 
½ cup granulated sugar 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
2 tsp fresh lemon juice 
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided 
8 oz. lactose-free cream cheese (see note above), at room temperature 
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract 
14 oz. sweetened condensed coconut milk 
2 cups lactose-free cream (vegan is fine) 
4 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped (or grated) 

Stir together cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, until thickened, dark, and slightly reduced, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large baking dish. Refrigerate until cool, 1 to 2 hours. 

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and lightly whipped, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; beat on high speed until just combined. With mixer running, gradually add condensed milk in a steady stream, beating until no clumps of cream cheese remain and scraping down sides of bowl as needed, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Place cream in a separate large bowl. Beat (no need to clean beaters) on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Fold in chocolate. Fold in 1 cup cooled cherry mixture until just swirled in, being careful not to overmix. 

Pour into a freezer-safe 2 ½-quart baking dish or 10-by-5-inch loaf pan. Dot with remaining cherry mixture; swirl with a spoon. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Loaded Veggie Quesadillas

These loaded veggie quesadillas were delicious! They were hearty and had protein and vegetables – what’s not to love? I just sliced the avocado instead of making guacamole. I used vegan Boursin and lactose-free sharp cheddar, but you could use a vegan substitute for that as well, or omit it if you want. And to make them gluten-free, just use gluten-free wraps! As for me, I used these new Olé Rising Xtreme Wellness keto wraps and really enjoyed them. 

For the roasted vegetables 
1 large red bell pepper 
1 large yellow bell pepper 
2 medium sweet potatoes 
1 tsp. ground cumin 
1 tsp. ground coriander 
¼ tsp. ground allspice 
½ tsp. chili powder (I used a big pinch of Korean pepper) 
a drizzle of olive oil 
salt and pepper 

For the black beans 
1 15-oz. black beans 
½ tsp. ground cumin 
½ tsp. ground coriander 
salt and pepper 

For the guacamole 
1 large ripe avocado 
squeeze fresh lemon juice (to taste) 
salt and pepper 

For serving 
2 large tortilla wraps 
50 g lactose-free cream cheese (I used vegan Boursin) 
75 g extra mature cheddar cheese 

Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Chop the peppers into thin slices. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into thin rounds. Place the veg in a large roasting tray, sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, allspice and chili powder, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss everything together to coat then roast for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 

Rinse and drain the black beans and place in a small pan with the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until roughly mashed then heat until warmed through. 

Place the avocado flesh in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 

Spread the cream cheese over one side of each tortilla wrap. Spread the black beans over the other half. Spread the guacamole on top of the beans, layer the vegetables on top then sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Fold in half. 

Lightly grease a large frying pan with vegetable oil over a medium heat. Place the folded tortillas in the pan and heat for about 5 minutes until lightly browned then carefully flip them over and repeat on the other side. Carefully remove to a plate and serve.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Ted Lasso's Shortbread Biscuits


The Engineer and I started watching Ted Lasso last spring, so of course I developed a fixation on the biscuits (shortbread, really) that Ted makes for his new boss. When having dinner with our friends Rob and Jen, I mused out loud that the recipe must be somewhere online, if I just bothered to look for it. And Jen sent me a link to this shortbread bakeoff, which led me to the official Apple TV+ recipe – and you can even get the cute pink boxes on Amazon

Since there are so few ingredients, this is the time to splurge on fancy European butter (just check that the nutrition label says 0g sugar, to make sure it’s lactose-free); I used Plugrà. These shortbread biscuits are superb – I can see why the boss was won over! I don’t think I’ll bother making any other kind now. 

2 sticks (8 oz.) lactose-free butter, plus more for the pan 
¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
¼ tsp. coarse salt 

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Let sit at room temperature until softened. Coat an 8- or 9-inch square metal baking pan with more butter (I had an 8-inch pyrex dish). 

Beat the butter on high speed with the paddle attachment until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until pale and fluffy. 

Stop the mixer. Sift the flour into the bowl, then add the salt. Mix on low speed until just combined. Transfer to the prepared pan and pat to an even thickness no more than ½” thick. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 °F. 

Slice the dough into rectangles or squares in the pan (I also made little indentations with the tip of a cake pop stick). Bake until golden-brown and the middle is firm, 45 to 60 minutes (you will need less time if you are using a bigger pan, since the biscuits won’t be as thick). Let cool completely. 

Re-slice, if needed, before serving.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Crunchy Ramen and Cabbage Salad


This crunchy ramen and cabbage salad recipe from Bon Appétit was great! The recipe as written below makes 6 to 8 servings. I used less green cabbage and halved the dressing, and I still had plenty. I’d consider using a package of coleslaw next time to go faster, but anyway, this was delicious! We give it a rare 4 thumbs up. 

Let me quote the headnote of the original recipe, as it is important: “Since instant ramen is precooked, it’s technically not raw and [is] fine to eat. Spring for good quality ramen noodles here (such as Shin). It tends to be more porous and makes for deliciously crunchy (not rock-hard) ribbons.” I used Sapporo Ichiban because they looked like the best out of the selection at my supermarket. 

I served these with Thai coconut curry meatballs

1 cup sliced almonds 
1 3- or 4-oz. package of instant ramen noodles (I got chicken flavor) 
1 cup distilled white vinegar 
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
2/3 cup sugar 
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper 
1 small head of green cabbage (about 1 lb.), thinly sliced 
½ small head of red cabbage (about ½ lb.), thinly sliced 
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced 

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. 

Meanwhile, remove seasoning packet from ramen noodles and set aside. Crush noodles with your hands or a rolling pin until pieces are peanut- to walnut-size. 

Vigorously whisk vinegar, oil, sugar, and ramen seasoning from reserved packet in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Combine green and red cabbage, scallions, half of ramen noodles, half of almonds, and half of dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add more dressing if needed (reserve any remaining dressing for another use). Top salad with remaining ramen and almonds.

Thai Coconut Curry Meatballs


I wanted to serve meatballs, but it had to be an easy recipe. I tried these Thai coconut curry meatballs and really liked them! I always halve the amount of fish sauce in any recipe, because it tends to be too pungent for me, but in this case I would reduce it even further. The original recipe called for ¼ cup, but I would use only 1 Tbsp. And I used frozen (thawed) turkey meatballs for the dish, so prep was quite fast! I served this with a crunchy ramen and cabbage salad, but rice would be great, too. 

½ lb. bacon, chopped into large pieces 
¼ cup Thai red curry paste 
¼ cup brown sugar (use less if you are reducing the amount of fish sauce) 
¼ cup fish sauce (I would use only 1 Tbsp.) 
1 ½ cans coconut milk (I would use only 1 can) 
½ a pineapple, peeled and cut into small chunks 
1 red bell pepper, chopped salt, to taste 
2 lbs. precooked meatballs (any meat of your choice; thaw them if frozen) 
¼ cup Thai basil chiffonade 

In a large skillet over medium heat, add chopped bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. 

Add the red curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce to the hot bacon fat and cook for about 3 minutes. 

Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked bacon, pineapple, and red bell pepper to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. 

Add the meatballs and cook for another 10 minutes. You want to ensure the meatballs are heated through. 

Remove from the heat and sprinkle with Thai basil to serve.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Pink Dragon Smoothie


I feel like I am often in a breakfast rut. I’ll get sick of toast easily, but then muffins can get boring too, so I occasionally switch it up with smoothies. I tried a raspberry banana chia smoothie that was “meh”; a peanut butter banana strawberry smoothie that was fine; and a matcha chia pudding with strawberry compote that I made too early in the morning to have good light for photos. But this pink dragon smoothie was so pretty! Plus, it’s got beets, which helps with the color. The only thing I would change next time would be to add more protein. I bought pumpkin seed powder recently, but wonder whether it would change the color too much. What’s your favorite protein powder? 

1 ½ cups unsweetened soy milk (or lactose-free milk of your choice) 
½ cup lactose-free plain whole-milk Greek yogurt 
1 small (2 oz.) canned or refrigerated cooked beet, quartered (about ¼ cup) 
1 cup frozen raspberries 
1 3 ½-oz. package frozen dragon fruit purée (pitaya) 
1 pinch of kosher salt 
2 tsp. agave nectar or honey (optional) 

Combine all ingredients in a blender, starting with soy milk and yogurt. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Quinoa Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing


I really enjoyed this quinoa crunch salad with peanut butter dressing from Pinch of Yum! I adapted the proportions a bit according to my appetite and what I had on hand, and it was delicious. I can tell you that I am drawn to recipes like these because I had two more in my bookmarks (this one and that one); it’s just the sort of stuff that appeals to me, I guess! 

For the quinoa salad 
2-3 cups shelled edamame 
2 cups quinoa (I used 1 cup) 
1 cucumber, diced 
1-2 bell peppers, diced 
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced 
3 carrots, shredded (I used 1 carrot) 
½ a head of purple cabbage, shredded 
peanuts, cashews, sliced almonds, etc. 

For the peanut dressing 
½ cup creamy peanut butter 
1/3 cup soy sauce 
1/3 cup vinegar (white vinegar or rice vinegar) 
¼ cup sesame oil 
1-2 Tbsp. chili paste (I used ½ tsp. sambal olek) 
2 Tbsp. honey 
1 clove garlic, peeled 
1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 

Cook the quinoa and edamame (separately) according to package directions. 

Put all the dressing ingredients in the blender or food processor and give it a good whirl. (I would add a bit of warm water to get a thinner consistency.) 

To serve, you can toss it all together, or assemble the salads as you go (this is my preference for eating leftovers over several days).