Vegan Korean Cauliflower Tacos with Creamy Napa Cabbage Slaw

Cauliflower-Tacos-028

Change is in the air.

It’s that time of the year- and it’s finally beginning to feel like it in Nashville. Cooler breezes, rainy days, below 70 temperatures- fall is almost upon us. In fact, its exactly a week away.

I also realize that part of the reason why it feels different is because of the tough weather we have experienced in other parts of the country. My heart goes out to every single person who has experienced tragedy in the wake of these horrific hurricanes. I would encourage us all to seek ways we can give, pray, help.

I know that when all of our resources come together restoration can happen.

And when things are tough, when people are hurting, when I’m not sure what to say- my go-to response is food. Especially nourishing food- food that is restorative, healing, and helpful.

Cauliflower-Tacos-021

And this week’s recipe definitely fits that bill!

Nutritionally, cauliflower is a powerhouse. A part of the vegetable family that shares its grouping with collard greens, broccoli and kale, it’s edible florets are actually called “curd.”(So cheesy! Hah, kidding kidding) But it’s also naturally sweet and low-carb, and full of vitamin C AND omega-3 fatty acids. Plus it can be transformed to mimic the umami taste of meat! Which brings me to this week’s recipe…

Cauliflower-Tacos-009

I have become a huge fan of cauliflower as of late- this is my favorite cauliflower fried rice to make at home- and one of my go-to ways to make a healthy, inexpensive, filling dinner is to use cauliflower to make TACOS. Because who doesn’t like TACOS?! And tacos can be adjusted to suit everyone’s tastes. Gluten-free? Use corn tortillas. Dairy-free? Use avocado verde (like below) to add a creamy, spicy element to your wrap. The beauty of cauliflower is that it is a blank slate vegetable– full of endless applications in even your most traditional recipes.

So do your thing, butterbean– and wrap it in a tortilla:)

For the rest of September, we will be highlighting cauliflower, it’s possibilities in both sweet and savory dishes, and hopefully a slammin’ recipe round-up that will get your creative juices flowing! Also, I want to give a HUGE shout-out to Birmingham magazine for featuring these next two recipes in their September issue.

So cozy up you guys- change is in the air, and so is the smell of gochujang, garlic, and cauliflower.

Cauliflower-Tacos-024

Korean Cauliflower Tacos with Creamy Napa Cabbage Slaw

This recipe highlights the versatility of cauliflower, and showcases the Korean chili paste gochujang. Cut into small florets, cauliflower’s shape mimics that of traditional ground meat, and the addition of soy sauce, sesame oil and gochujang bring out the sweetness, and nuttiness, of the vegetable. Top with the creamy Asian slaw and avocado verde for a spicy vegetarian meal. Also, check out Birmingham magazine for this recipe in print!

Yield: 4 tacos

What You Will Need:

  • 3 cups cauliflower (about 13 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • Whole wheat tortillas, for serving **or corn, if gluten-free**

What You Will Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a rimmed, light metal baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sesame oil and the rest of the ingredients (excluding cauliflower and tortillas).
  3. Add florets and toss to coat.
  4. Put cauliflower, evenly spaced, on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir; bake 10 minutes more.
  5. Serve cauliflower in whole wheat tortillas with slaw.

Creamy Napa Cabbage Slaw

This Asian-inspired slaw is delicious atop cauliflower tacos, but it can also double as a creative, spicy vegetarian accompaniment to smoked meat at your end-of-summer barbecues. Top with black sesame seeds and sliced avocado if serving as a side.

Yield: 6-10 servings

What You Will Need:

  • 8 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely grated, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons Japanese mayonnaise (or vegan mayonnaise)
  • 1 tsp gochujang
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • ½ tsp rice vinegar
  • Black sesame seeds or black gomasio, for topping
  • Store bought avocado verde, for topping (or simply stir together guacamole and green salsa)

Method

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, gochujang, honey, onion powder, and salt until combined. Add Napa cabbage, carrot, and jalapeno and toss to coat. Taste; season with additional salt if desired.
  2. Put slaw on tacos and top with salsa verde and black sesame seeds, if desired.

 

 

Low Sugar Banana Blueberry Mini Baby Smash Cakes

Low-Sugar-Banana-Baby-Smash-Cake-013-2

You guys!!!

I could not be more excited about this post! Not only is it almost the weekend, it’s also the day I have the opportunity to share a recipe in PERSON, on the cooking stage with the Nashville Home Show!

As y’all know, once I get to talking and/or thinking about food, you can’t really get me to be quiet, so the fact that they have openly invited me to share my love of all things baked goods is the highlight of my week!

Low-Sugar-Banana-Baby-Smash-Cake-016-2

Low-Sugar-Banana-Baby-Smash-Cake-018-2

And as I was thinking about what to share, I immediately knew what recipe it would be. Y’all- in the history of Luv Cooks, this recipe is the most searched for, most sought after, most “I just came from Pinterest to check this out” one we’ve ever posted. And it all started with the original recipe here, with an incredibly cute baby named Pace, his birthday, and my friend (his precious momma’s) desire to feed him a special cake that wasn’t full of sugar. In fact, he hadn’t eaten processed sugar up until that point. Amazing, right?

Precious Pace eating cake!
The original baking inspiration, Pace Russell!
Baby-Smash-Cake-with-Blueberries-
And the original cake! Here is the original, full cake recipe post:) 

And as you know, with every (first) birthday comes the opportunity to smash one’s cake into one’s mouth however one feels is appropriate.

Well, I knew that I had to share this recipe again, but maybe adjust it slightly to a more adult crowd. Because, let’s be real- its amazing for the birthday boy or girl to have a yummy, healthy cake- but what about everyone standing around watching them eat it?!

Low-Sugar-Banana-Baby-Smash-Cake-020-2

That’s why I took the original recipe (by Fit Mama Real Food) and adjusted it with some seasonal fall spices, and baked it into individual mini smash cakes. So we can all, if we choose, smash the cakes right into our faces, just like the little ones! Don’t mind if I do…

Low-Sugar-Banana-Baby-Smash-Cake-008-2

Low Sugar Banana Blueberry Smash Cakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream  (Originally inspired by Fit Mama Real Food)

You can also click here for the original, tiered cake post!

This recipe is full of whole grains, healthy fats, and has NO refined sugar or sweeteners of any kind! It’s also egg-free and  simple to prepare and make ahead; you can even top the cakes with whipped cream a day ahead and store them in the fridge. Feel free to try out other mix-in’s besides berries for your adult guests- I think chopped cherries, dried fruit, or chocolate chips would work great in this mini cake as well!

Yield: 16 mini cakes

What You Will Need for the cake:

  • 2 scant cups mashed banana, or 4 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup natural applesauce
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (melted), plus more for greasing cake pans
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (just grind rolled oats in a blender, then measure)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries

What You Will Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together mashed banana, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Whisk together flours, spices, baking soda and salt until combined.
  4. Gently stir flour mixture into banana mixture until just combined. Avoid over mixing as that can make the batter tough.
  5. Stir blueberries into batter.
  6. Distribute batter by scant 1/4 cups into muffin tin. Reserve remaining batter for next batch of cakes.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or sharp knife inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool completely at room temperature to set. Top with fresh whipped vanilla cream!

Low-Sugar-Banana-Baby-Smash-Cake-011-2

For the vanilla whipped cream:

What You Will Need:

  • 4 ounces organic heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional fresh blueberries for topping (or melted peanut butter/chocolate/almond butter)
  1. Once cooled, top the mini cakes with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh blueberries. I also ate them with melted peanut butter drizzled on top, and it was DIVINE!

 

 

 

 

Back to School Snack Ideas with Share Love Everywhere

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 6.45.03 PM

Lovelies!

So today’s post is bit of a departure from our typical, intro-the-food then a recipe style. Don’t get me wrong, there will be recipes, but even more importantly, there will be LOVE SHARED.

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 6.48.17 PM

You see, you have to meet my beautiful friend Ashley Reale of Love Everywhere. She has a gift for sharing love with people- “even perfect strangers,” like it says on Love Everywhere’s bio page. In fact, she has started a now worldwide movement to share handwritten notes of encouragement in the cleverest of places for people to find.

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 6.48.50 PM

In fact, ALL of the photos on this post are from her Instagram account. Her amazing ambassadors take them and share the love!** You can follow her on IG here:)

She is a total entrepreneur and, to my LOVE, foodie!! As we say, people who love to eat are clearly the best people.

And because of our joint love of loving people WITH food, I recruited her to share with us (in the spirit of September and all things back to school) some of her best, most kid friendly, back to school snacks. And she does NOT disappoint!

Ashley’s snack recipes!

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 6.47.48 PM

Cheesy Naan pizza

What you will need:

  • 1 naan flatbread (she buys hers from Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (or vegan cheese, if you prefer)
  • Veggies your kids would like (spinach, corn, red peppers, etc.)

What You Will Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Sprinkle veggies of choice over naan. Cover with shredded cheese (in Ashley’s world, the more cheese, the better!)
  3. For a crispier naan, bake directly on oven rack for 10 minutes. For softer naan, place on baking sheet coated in cooking spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted.
  4. Allow to cool for a few minutes, slice and enjoy!

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 6.45.45 PM

Kid-Friendly Tortilla Chips and Salsa

What You Will Need:

  • 1 bag, organic frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup diced, fresh pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
  • Organic corn chips, for serving

What You Will Do:

  1. Stir together all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with corn chips and enjoy!

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 6.46.53 PM

Fresh Fruit or Veggie Kabobs (This is an AWESOME recipe to get kids involved in the assembly process!!)

What You Will Need:

  • Various fresh veggies, chopped or halved (cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, broccoli, etc.)
  • Various fresh fruit, if desired (like watermelon or pineapple)
  • Wooden or metal skewers
  • Salad dressing for dipping (ranch, balsamic, or even melted cheese)

What You Will Do:

  1. Get creative! Style your fruits and veggies however you like- you could do all one color on one skewer (orange veggies, for instance) then all red fruit on another. Simply slide the halves on the skewer and dive in!

**And, if you guys are interested in becoming a Love Everywhere ambassador, just email Ashley at shareloveeverywhere@gmail.com.**

Sunday Morning Pancakes + Wise Butter for your Labor Day

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-16

You guyyyysssss!!!

Ahhhhhh I couldn’t be more excited about this post!!

And here’s why.

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-6

For all of 2017, I have been struggling to come up with the ideal pancake recipe to share with you. You can ask my husband Jake- it has been a tear-ridden, frustration station, park-your-ego-at-the-door process. I started out strong in January, on a mission- to find a pancake that was whole grain (because, let’s be real, white flour pancakes don’t begin to satisfy my morning hunger), natural, and delicious. From coconut flour to almond flour to literally grinding whole flaxseed myself in an attempt to create some kind of binder, about two months ago, I reached my end.

I was tired of the emotional disappointment, the gloopy, unappealing mess of a batter bowl and the even more disappointing flat, mealy cakes I was producing (that also eerily tasted like boiled eggs?) Needless to say, I was done.

Then, dawn breaks forth- LITERALLY- at the Made South festival in Franklin, Tennessee. There I met two of the kindest, most fantastic foodie ladies in Nashville. I just happened to walk by Sam’s Sunday Morning Pancake Mix booth and noticed that she had silver dollar-sized samples. Let’s just say I downed the first batch and wanted more. Then she told me a bit about the pancakes- that the whole grans mix was the result of her own frustrating process to create a healthy pancake! Her final recipe features a plethora of amazing ingredients, 9 whole grains to be exact. From organic wheat berries to milo, spelt berries, oat groats and barley berries- she did it! I seriously wanted to hand her a golden trophy in the shape of a maple syrup bottle.

I also passed Wendy’s booth for Wise Butter. Not only did she have the cutest mini crackers I’ve ever seen (still, to this day I have no idea where she got those tiny toasts!), she also had a super tasty selection of her homemade flavored butters ready for us to try. Caramel peach BUTTER?! Lightly sweet, rich, with a hint of peach. But the chipotle, ohhh the chipotle. Spicy, warm on your tongue- brilliant on any food imaginable.

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-2

Needless to say, I pretty much stalked Sam and Wendy (as I have a tendency to do when I find a food product I love), invited them over to my house to take some photos, and well, here we are.

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-3

So without further ado, and just in time for your (hopefully) more relaxed Labor Day weekends, I asked Samantha (from Sunday Morning Pancakes) and Wendy (from Wise Butter) to share some of the best ways to make your pancake batter and butter shine. Plus, just hop on over to their sites to find how and where you can purchase their products!

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-7

From the pancake lady herself:

Here are two recipes that I love this time of year. They aren’t sweet, but they are damn tasty. You could bill it as something to do on a nice long weekend or because red peppers are in season right now in Tennessee.   Also, neither of them have to be canned. You can pare down the recipe size and safely keep them in the fridge for probably a month!

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-8

Red Pepper Jelly   

What You Will Need:

1 ½ lbs chopped red bell peppers (6 cups)
2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp pectin
3 ¼ c. sugar
1 c. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
¾ tsp kosher or sea salt

What You Will Do:

  1. Pulse bell peppers with red pepper flakes in a food processor until finely minced. Whisk together pectin and ¼ c sugar in a small bowl.
  2. Stir together pepper mixture, vinegar, butter, salt,  and remaining 3 cups sugar in a heavy pot.
  3. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, and continue to boil, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Gradually add pectin mixture, whisking constantly. Return jelly to a vigorous boil, stirring constantly, and boil another 1-2 minutes. It will thicken only slightly. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour hot jam into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 5 – ½ pints.

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-9

Sweet Onion Jam 

What You Will Need:

4 cups sweet onions, chopped
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp sugar
¾ cup honey
2 tsp cinnamon (Sam prefers Chinese five spice)
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

What You Will Do:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in sugar, salt and ¼ cup water. Cook over low heat until the onions caramelize, about 8 minutes. To get the best results, resist the urge to stir. These steps can also be done in a slow cooker.
  3. Transfer onions to a blender or food processor. Add honey and cinnamon or five spice. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 4 – 1/2 pints.
Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-10Sam’s ultimate pancake mix recipe: Blueberry Blonde Ale Waffles
What You Will Need:
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup ale style beer
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 eggs, preferably large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups Sunday Morning Pancake Mix
  • Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill, for topping**
What You Will Do:
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add milk and  beer and heat until just warm.
  3. Take off the heat and whisk with vanilla and eggs.
  4. Scoop two and a half cups SMPM into a large bowl and mix in wet ingredients until just combined.
  5. Let sit for about five minutes and voila! Make sure to grease the waffle iron and you’ll be all set.

**Sam also suggests anything from the Nashville Jam Company to top the pancakes. You can find Sam on Instagram @smpancakemix 

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-15

Sunday-Morning-Pancakes-Wise-Butter-1

And Wendy! She is an all around butter expert, and here are her best pairings with her Wise Butter flavors:
  • Chipotle: baked sweet potatoes, grilled corn, mac and cheese
  • Roasted Garlic Basil: grilled cheese, grilled salmon, shrimp, or steak, and roasted carrots or zucchini
  • Lemon Rosemary: roasted potatoes, any kind of seafood, asparagus or green beans
  • Salted Caramel Peach: I’m actually finished with this flavor for this summer! My sweet offering right now is Dark Wildflower Honey
You can pair my sweet flavors with anything you are having for breakfast or as a base for buttercream icing. Stirred into oatmeal is my favorite!
You can check out Wendy @wisebutter on Instagram and she will be featured on an episode of Tennessee Crossroads on NPT this week!

 

Flourless Zucchini Cranberry Coconut Muffins

Zucchini-Muffins-3

I don’t know about you guys, but I am a HUGE fan of muffins. Large and puffy, small and bite-size, medium and poppy seed with lemon glaze- sign me UP for a muffin.

The great thing about muffins is that you can make them ahead of time, enjoy them with coffee and really never have to convince anyone to eat them. So there’s that. Which is especially handy if you are trying to feed the kids! Especially since this recipe doesn’t have flour, even the gluten-free among us can participate!

Zucchini-Muffins-5

Taking our cues from this month’s focus on all things zucchini, these babies are one of my favorite back-to-school baking recipes. For this one, we use oats to give the muffins stability, instead of traditional white flour. Greek yogurt and coconut oil keep things moist, as does fresh zucchini! Shredded coconut is thrown in with dried cranberries, and I think they are an A+ 😉 WINK!

Zucchini-Muffins-2

So here’s to a weekend full of muffin bliss (and eating your greens without holding your nose)…

Zucchini-Muffins-4

Flourless Zucchini Coconut Cranberry Muffins (Inspired by Chelsea’s Messy Apron!)

These easy-breezy zucchini muffins are simple to make and easy to prepare ahead. Chelsea did an amazing job coming up with the base ratio! Just make sure you leave time for the shredded zucchini to drain a bit, it helps keep the moisture ratio right when you go to make the batter!

  • 1 cup and 1/2 oat flour blended oats** (You can also do 3/4 cup oat flour plus 3/4 cup all purpose flour if you need)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil measured when melted
  • 3 tablespoons very ripe banana ~1/2 large
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar lightly packed*
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed grated zucchini, drained on paper towels for at least 10 minutes
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

What You Will Do

1. Preheat an oven to 350; grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together oat flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, yogurt, coconut oil, banana and brown sugar until combined.

4. Stir in zucchini, cranberries, and coconut.

5. Pour batter evenly (about 1/4 cup at a time) into greased muffin tin.

6. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a knife inserted into muffins comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes, then gently move them to a wire rack to cool.

**To make oat flour, all I did was pour a heap of oats into the Vitamix and pulse on high until it looked like flour. I am almost positive you could do this in a food processor too!

 

 

 

 

 

**

Rainbow Veggie Pitas with Zucchini Tzatziki! That rhymes!

Rainbow-Veggie-Pita-034

Rainbow veggie PITAS!!!!!

Of all of the zucchini recipes I’ve made this month, this is one of the ones I am MOST pumped about.

There are many reasons to love a veggie pita- one, you are eating the rainbow, which experts say to do. In my past (ahem, last week) I would have thought we were referring to Lucky Charms, but today we mean nature’s rainbow of vegetables!

Rainbow-Veggie-Pita-030-Edit

Two- this tzatziki sauce is blow-your-mind DELICIOUS! Though traditional tzatziki has cucumber as it’s base, I decided to try it out with more zucchini instead. I could not stop eating it and it quickly became a favorite dip in the Blount household (for veggies, crackers, or, you know, a stray slice of ham). And third- well, do you really need a reason to eat a pita?! The answer is no, never do we need a reason to eat a pita, or pita bread, or it’s partnering dips.

This recipe is also great because, well, zucchinis. A few fun facts I learned in my quest for zucchini knowledge:

  • Zucchinis are considered fruit. In fact, a zucchini with it’s flowers still attached is the ultimate sign of freshness and may even taste sweet!
  • Latin American chefs prefer to eat both the zucchini fruit and it’s flower (which serves as a stuffing for quesadillas).
  • Look for brightly colored, firm, smaller sized zucchini, as those that are over eight inches tend to become more fibrous and less tasty.
  • Because of zucchini’s high water and fiber content, it’s consumption is considered by nutritionists as a great way to stay (healthily) full; the nutrient-dense fruit even contains omega-3 fatty acids. **Did somebody say omega-3’s in a veggie! That’s right!

Rainbow-Veggie-Pita-036

Now that we have established the amazingness of zucchinis, I think it’s time for you to dice up some zucchini, make the tzatziki and ribbon away on that mandoline so you can pile those veggies high.

Enjoy your weekend pita sandwiches my Grecian super foodies!

Rainbow-Veggie-Pita-033

Rainbow Veggie Pitas with Zucchini Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce

These veggie-centric wraps are not only a great way to use zucchini, but a tasty way to include other fresh summer produce as well. Just slice your other summertime favorites thinly for easy stacking. Also, make sure and allow time for your diced cucumber and zucchini to rest on paper towels before combining in the tzatziki- this ensures a thicker, tastier sauce! You can also find the full recipe on Birmingham magazine’s site here!

Yield: 6 pitas

What You Will Need for the tzatziki sauce:

  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup diced, peeled zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon salt; divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons dill leaves, packed
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, torn and packed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
    Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

What You Will Do:

  1. Press the diced cucumber through a layer of several paper towels and ring with your hands to drain excess water.
  2. Distribute drained cucumber and zucchini on a double layer of paper towels. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
  3.  Combine cucumber/zucchini, garlic, dill, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, and curry powder in a food processor.
  4. Stir pureed veggie mixture into yogurt. Taste; season with 1/4 to 1/2 tsp more salt and black pepper to taste. Top with fresh dill or basil leaves for serving.

For the Rainbow Veggie Stuffed Pitas:

  • 4 soft white pitas, halved
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1 3⁄4 cup sliced red and yellow mini sweet peppers
  • 1⁄2 to 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1 zucchini, sliced on a mandolin into thin ribbons
  • 1⁄2 to 1 cup Alfalfa sprouts
  • 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced red onion; soak in cold water for 15 minutes then drain for less pungency
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • Feta cheese, crumbled, to taste

What You Will Do:

  1. Gently spoon homemade tzatziki sauce into bottom of pita half. Starting on the bottom layer of the pita half, stack with radishes, peppers, carrrots, zucchini, sprouts, red onion, and cabbage.
  2. Drizzle with additional tzatziki and top with crumbled feta. Enjoy!

Extra Tips:

*This tzatziki sauce becomes even more flavorful overnight. Simply cover and store your sauce to rest in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
* If you like a thicker consistency for your tzatziki (or any other dairy-based dip), simply drain the dip over several layers of paper towel in a bowl in the fridge. This trick also works for creating a thicker salsa!

*Traditional taziki features fresh parsley, so you can play with the herbs here. Substitute mint for basil and parsley for dill if you like!
*For less bite to raw red onions, soak them in ice cold water for 15 minutes, then drain.
*Gently warm your pitas in the microwave or oven before slicing and opening to make them even easier to fill with tzatziki and veggies.

 

Thai Peanut Zucchini Noodle Salad

Thai-Peanut-Zucchini-Noodle-Salad-024

It’s August! YESSS!! Cue all the back to school recipes! And pass the zucchini.

This fabulous month we delve into the world of zucchini, zucchini noodles, and everything that comes along with using zucchinis as this last month of summer begins.

Thai-Peanut-Zucchini-Noodle-Salad-022

Which also means that school is starting, and everybody I know needs quick and simple recipes to make the August days (and sometimes late nights) even easier!

I am soooo pumped about this week’s recipe for several reasons. One- the peanut dressing is DELICIOUS. Two- it features gochujang, my favorite spicy chili paste. Three- it’s gluten-free and low-carb, which of course means you can eat the entire bowl in one sitting.

Thai-Peanut-Zucchini-Noodle-Salad-016

And speaking of low-carb, for those of you who are super into the zucchini noodle trend, I found the BEST article about making zucchini noodles I’ve ever read here. Lisa is AMAZING and here are just a few of her tips that I utilized in this recipe:

Preferred tool: Mandoline I love my mandoline! To create the noodles for the Thai “pasta” salad below, I sliced a washed zucchini on the middle setting (I believe it was 2). The zucchini curled into pretty shapes this way! It also had a nice bite- the thinner pieces felt limp to me.

Cooking Method: Raw I liked this summery salad cold and raw. You can gently heat the noodles if you like (in a bowl in the microwave for a minute) but I vote on the raw method because the zucchini is able to maintain flavor and crunchiness really well that way.

Storage: In the fridge Lisa gives a great tip on her post about slicing the noodles ahead of time to make prep even easier, and storing them in the fridge in a covered container lined with a paper towel. Easy!

Thai-Peanut-Zucchini-Noodle-Salad-012

Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad with Peanut Cashew Dressing

This light salad is the epitome of summer ease, and takes advantage of all of the health benefits raw zucchini offers. Slice zucchini noodles and blend the peanut dressing ahead of time for even easier assembly. Fresh basil is the perfect topping for such a summery side dish. You can also find the full recipe on Birmingham magazine’s website:) 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
For the Thai Peanut Cashew Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons roasted whole cashews
  • 1/2 tsp gochujang

What You Will Do:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender on low speed until combined, then medium speed until a smooth puree forms.
  2. Place in fridge to cool.

For the Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad:

  • 10 ounces skin-on zucchini noodles
  • 5 ounces thick sliced cucumber ribbons
  • 2 ounces matchstick carrots
  • 3 tablespoons chopped roasted cashews, plus more for topping
  • Fresh basil, leaves and torn pieces, for topping
  • Chili flake, for topping

What You Will Do:

  1. Toss together zucchini noodles, cucumber ribbons, matchstick carrots, and cashews.
  2. Pour peanut cashew dressing onto vegetables about 1⁄3 cup at a time, and toss to desired consistency.
  3. Top with fresh basil, chili flake, and additional cashews if desired. Enjoy immediately!

 

 

 

 

 

Corn Recipes So Inspiring You Could Make them on Vacation

Corn Polenta
                                                 Gorgeous corn polenta by Half Baked Harvest!

Hola mi amigos!

Can you believe it’s the end of July already? To be honest, the summer of 2017 has moved at a weird pace for me. The minutes flash by on food shoot days- I look at the time, it’s 8 am, and then it’s 6 pm and the photos or videos are wrapped. Other freelance, “work-on-my-business” days seem to slowly eek along, as I email, call, and assault the internet (and my marketing list) to pursue working in and around food as much as I can. Those are the days I hear my middle school basketball coach in my head screaming “Hustle” until about 7 PM.

Also, “spider drills!” (Did anyone play basketball back in the day? You know what I’m talking about…)

And to be real, it’s hard work building a business around what you love. It’s worth it- but when it’s 1,000 degrees outside and you catch yourself fantasizing about a vacation away from your computer- this reason alone is why I can’t wait to turn off my email and actually read a book next week.

Since Jake and I have decided to take some much-needed time off, it’s an all out breakneck speed to the finish line as we wrap up food photos and projects, take Bigbsy to doggie camp and assemble some sort of cleanliness to our house. But y’all, the end is in sight! As in, eating sweet potato fries, lingering over coffee and building some sort of color on my pale legs will be my life goals for seven days.

This got me thinking- what are the easiest, most vacation-friendly corn recipes out there? What would one actually want to make when all I’ve done all day is sit in a pool with a cold Coca-cola? Well my friends, and those about to go on end-of-summer, pre back-to-school vacations, I have rounded up a great list for you.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Cheers to summertime unwinding:)

Corn salad, Grilled

Summertime Grilled Corn Salad by Simply Delicious This recipe screams refreshment and summertime and delicious to me! Plus I dig the way she boils the corn then grills it and tosses the kernels with feta cheese, tomatoes and basil. Plus all of these ingredients are likely available at your nearby grocery store. Yassss!

Corn Avocado Toast!

Summer Avocado Toast with Grilled Corn by She Likes Food Corn for breakfast!! Again, the beauty of charred, grilled corn paired with creamy avocado and crunchy toast. So fresh and so perfect for a lazy beach breakfast!

Corn Polenta with Honey BBQ chicken

Honey BBQ Chicken with Charred Corn Polenta by Half Baked Harvest: This polenta and chicken combo is making my mouth water just thinking about it. Oh. My. Geez. You can even use raw corn on top of the polenta, and use local smoked chicken in place of the skewers if you don’t feel like busting out the grill. Plus this photo?! The lighting is GORGEOUS!

Corn Chowder Vegan!

Vegan Corn Chowder by The Roasted Root: I know, I know soup in summertime? But yes! Sometimes after a long day on the beach all I want is cold, cold AC, a blanket and a pot of soup on the stove cooking away. Minimal prep, minimal work. Plus I am intrigued by the coconut milk corn combo!

Cornbread Honey Skillet

Honey Skillet Cornbread by Sally’s Baking Addiction Confession: Though I am a Southern girl, I like my cornbread sweet with chunks of fresh or creamed corn inside! This recipe hits on all the points. Plus, you can reuse this cornbread on salad the next day (as your breadcrumbs) or repurpose in open-faced cornbread sandwiches or eat for breakfast topped with fresh summer peaches and cream!

Corn Spicy Southern!

Spicy Southern Hot Corn by Peas & Crayons How perfect would this super-easy corn be for dipping with fresh salsa and tortilla chips, enjoyed with a glass of wine or iced tea, on your vacation getaway (or staycation) porch? I love it!

And last but not least- cue dessert!

Cornbread Muffins!

Lemon Blueberry Corn Muffins by Garlic and Zest Ok so technically these aren’t technically using corn- they use a corn bread mix- but I have a super soft place in my heart for Jiffy corn muffin mix because it’s delicious and I prefer it over homemade cornbread sometimes! So I think this recipe is genius, and could even be repurposed for breakfast in a parfait with yogurt- or topped onto fresh vanilla ice cream for an extra treat!

Corn Candy Ice Cream

Candy Corn Ice Cream by The Simple Sweet Life: This ice cream was too much fun (and too cute) not to include! Plus, it’s a no-churn recipe, so I have a feeling you could use the ice cream base and stir in roasted corn and blackberries as your garnish if you weren’t up for fall candy quite yet. Yumm!!

And just because this is fascinating

LOVE YOU GUYS!!

My Life-changing Leftovers Tip + Sweet Corn Pizza with Chorizo

July-2017-Bham-Mag-Corn-031

It’s July, and I KNOW you have some leftover produce hanging around in your fridge that you don’t know what to do with.

Maybe it’s not even the whole vegetables! Maybe it’s the garlic skins you rubbed off while you were prepping that stir fry on Monday, or the onion skins that were peeled away for that summer tomato pie on Thursday. What do you do with those leftovers?

You BRING THE **FUN** BACK TO THOSE VEGGIES, that’s what!  If it’s good enough for Justin Timberlake, then I think it’s great for us. This week I will share with you, my amazing readers, the #1 use-up-your-leftovers tip I EVER learned. As in, your life may not ever be the same and you will most likely feel about as accomplished as Alice Waters from here on out.

The broth bag!! I know, genius right? I first heard about this technique while listening to (hearts) Lynn Rosetto Casper on the Splendid Table, interviewing a brilliant 90-year old woman whose claim to life-long health revolved around bone broth. And her key to great bone broth was not letting all of your leftover veggie scraps go to waste, but instead stockpiling them in a freezer bag.

Food people are the BEST people.

July-2017-Bham-Mag-Corn-045

But I also know that you have more than your leftover veggie scraps lying around- you probably also have TWO more things I normally cram into my refrigerator:

Hummus– Hummus is not only an amazing snack, but there are some super cool things you can do with it outside of pita chip dipping’! Hummus chicken, pasta sauce, VEGAN QUESO *all the hearts**

Leftover pickle juice– There are a myriad of things you can do with leftover pickle juice. From adding it to potato salad and marinating meats to simply throwing your leftover veggies straight into the brine to make your own version of pickles, get creative! This list of the 15 Ways To Use Leftover Pickles by Bon Appetit is super-inspiring.

And of course, since this month’s focus is corn, so I’m pumped to share this awesome spicy corn and chorizo pizza we shot for Birmingham magazine. Pizza is a PERFECT vehicle for leftover summer produce!

So this weekend, let’s relax, make an easy bowl of hummus pasta, and throw whatever leftover veggies you have in pickle juice or the broth bag. Like 90-year-old Louise Hay says in her book Loving Yourself to Great Health, “Your body will love you for continuing to nourish it in this manner!”

July-2017-Bham-Mag-Corn-043

Sweet Corn Pizza with Monterey Jack and Chorizo

This corn pizza is perfect- and easy enough- for summertime!  Just grab some fresh summer corn, spicy chorizo, and melty cheese and you are ready to create a hearty appetizer or fun main course. Try substituting the chorizo for ground beef or turkey with taco seasoning if good quality chorizo is hard to come by. 

What You Will Need:

Yield: 1 pizza

  • 1 pound ground chorizo
  • 4 fresh ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels removed for cooking
  • 1/2 cup diced Vidalia onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1 (13.9-ounce) can pizza crust
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 4 ounces Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving

What You Will Do

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium saute pan, cook chorizo over medium heat, breaking up large pieces with a spoon. Once cooked through, remove to plate.
  3. Add corn kernels, onion, cumin, and taco seasoning to pan. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until onion softens and corn is crisp tender, about five minutes.
  4. Remove corn mixture from heat.
  5. Cover a large surface with parchment paper. On it, roll out pizza dough into a large circle.
  6. Move dough to parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove crust from oven, then top with cooked chorizo, corn/onion mixture, cheese, and sliced jalapenos.
  8. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and crust is crispy, about 10 minutes more.
  9. Top with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with hot sauce.

How to use leftover PRODUCE + Summer Corn Succotash!

July-2017-Bham-Mag-Corn-069

Hey WOW it’s July and WOH there is some heat happening in Tennessee!

I liken going outside to feeling like your tonsils are being strangled by a hot sauna while someone sets a steamy, hot cast iron skillet above your face.

It’s weird; but growing up in the South, oddly familiar.

July-2017-Bham-Mag-Corn-084

And of course, I am doing all I can to stay inside near an air conditioner for the better three fourths of the day. I find that a run with our dog Bigsby in the morning also fulfills about 200% of my outdoor quotient for the week.

And because of my avoidance of anything outdoorsy until September, this also means that a lot of the recipes I’m cooking these days revolve around the things I have scrounged around from food shoots or indoor trips to the grocery store.

Like this delicious succotash Jake and I shot for Birmingham magazine this month. I am a complete sucker for corn and bacon, and this sweet corn version with bacon and sage is soooo good. As in, my mouth is watering thinking about it. Plus, you don’t even have to go outside to cook it! No grills! Just an indoor heat source and cast iron skillet to fry bacon is all you need.

And speaking of leftovers, this week’s video is ALL about what to do with leftover produce. As in, avocados, brown bananas, and sweet potatoes! PRAISE for getting creative and bringing FUN back to your leftoverzzzz (with a Z of course).

 

And as promised, the links I mentioned above for some creative leftover inspiration:

Frozen avocados: Just blend the avocado fruit with a bit of lemon in a food processor. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze! Can be thawed to use in salad dressing, guacamole, and smoothies! Just don’t eat by itself- it will be watery and not taste the same!

Banana recipes:

Cookies: Banana Chocolate Chip

Pancakes: Healthy Banana Pancakes

Muffins: Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Banana/Quick breads: Coffee Cake Banana Bread and Strawberry Banana Bread 

Banana “Fro yo”: Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt

Sweet Potatoes: Stuff them! Bake them whole, doused in olive oil with a bit of sea salt and wrapped in aluminum foil, in a 450 oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your tater. Let cool for 15 minutes; slice open, and fill with: turkey pepperoni, cheese, marinara sauce, basil; or black beans, ground turkey, cheddar cheese, and salsa. Combos are endless! Put back in oven on baking sheet to melt cheese if desired.

Sweet potato baked goods: Cinful Sweet Potato Cookies and Healthy Sweet Potato Breakfast Brownies

And this week’s corn recipe! Which you can also find here!

July-2017-Bham-Mag-Corn-085

Fresh Corn, Bacon and Sage Succotash

This easy breezy summer side is perfect for a hot day because you don’t have to go outside to cook ANYTHING and it’s just as tasty indoors with a glass of cold, cold iced tea. Serve with tortilla chips if you like:) 

What You Will Need

  • 3 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp plus ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4 ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels removed for cooking
  • 1 15.25 ounce can lima beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pint organic heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

What You Will Do

  1. Cook three pieces bacon in a cast iron skillet on medium low heat until done and crispy; remove and drain on paper towels. Drain all but 1 tablespoon grease.
  2. Add olive oil, sweet onion, garlic, chili powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; heat until onion is softened, three minutes.
  3. Add corn and lima beans and cook 6 to 11 minutes on medium low heat, depending on how crunchy you like your corn. It should be crisp-tender and cooked through.
  4. Allow corn mixture to cool. Chop bacon.
  5. Stir in chopped bacon, sage, basil, ¼ tsp salt, and cherry tomatoes to corn mixture. Taste; season with more salt and pepper if desired.
  6. Serve succotash immediately or store in the refrigerator.