Category Archives: Sauces and Spices

Avocado Hummus AKA Guacammus

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I was really at a loss when I made this as to what I wanted to call it. It has chick peas in it so it is kind of like a hummus, but it has avocado, Serrano pepper, and cilantro in it so it is kind of like guacamole. Actually when I made it I was craving guacamole for lunch, but knew I needed some protein. I knew I had some chick peas in the pantry so in my mind I just smooshed them together and wound up with a really tasty and healthy lunch.
I really wasn’t to sure about how this would come out when I first started. But as I added all of the flavors I asked myself why I hadn’t thought of this before. I love chick peas, I used to pile them on my salads when I went to salad bars. And DUH I love guacamole, well actually avocado in just about any form makes my teeter totter.
So if you are looking for a new way to have your guacamole and hummus too, give this a shot. 


P.s. Kevin came home and loved this. Wow who knew I could get him to eat healthy?

Avocado Hummus AKA Guacammus
1 15-ounce can of chick peas, drained and liquid reserved
2 avocados, pitted and chopped
1 clove of garlic, grated or finely minced
1 Serrano pepper, finely minced
1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
2 limes juiced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and pepper
Pita wedges for serving
In a food processor combine the first 7 ingredients along with about 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid from the chick peas. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid as needed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. 
Serve with pita wedges.
ENJOY!!

Homemade Ranch Dressing the Healthy Way

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My son loves Ranch dressing. He will literally put it on everything! We used to go through Costco sized bottles in a week at times. 
Well in my quest to try and lighten up recipes, I became very determined to come with up a ranch dressing that was healthier but didn’t lose any flavor. I mean we all have a certain way we expect ranch dressing to taste right?
I have been trying for a couple years, but have come up with things that work ok and tasted good but just not “the” ranch dressing. I was beginning to get a little discouraged until I started working with Greek yogurt a lot. I sub it for sour cream most of the time now. I love the fact that I am not only reducing fat and calories but adding protein to whatever I put it in. I decided that was one of my missing ingredients in this recipe. Between that and adding more fresh herbs I nailed it this time! I will never go back to any other dressing!

I decided to give the step by step photos a try. So let’s see how it goes OK?
The cast of characters
Add your low fat mayo
Then that tangy Greek yogurt
Now all of those fab herbs. Kevin says it looks like I mowed the yard *eyeroll*
Some minced garlic
It can’t be buttermilk ranch without the buttermilk right? Low fat of course.

OK in our house we have to add the Sriracha. A little bit just gives it a tang so don’t be afraid, give it a shot!!
And of course some good ol’ kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
You can throw it in a food processor, blender, or one of these handy dandy attachments that come with an immersion blender. Have I mentioned how much I love this gadget?!
Then you end up with a fabulous dressing for salads and veggies. I leave mine rather thick, like a dip. Then it can be mixed with some more buttermilk or even milk to thin it out for salads.
Homemade Ranch Dressing the Healthy Way
  • 1 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, minced ( a good handful)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Dash hot sauce (Recommended Sriracha)
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk 

In a food processor or blender combine all of the ingredients and pulse until thoroughly blended. Adjust seasoning as needed. Pour into an airtight container and chill for 1 to 2 hours before using. 

Thin with more buttermilk if needed.

ENJOY!!!

Homemade Italian Salad Dressing Mix

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TGIF everyone!! I am happy it is Friday, but it also means another week gone until Christmas! This year though it is not as bad as usual. I actually have all of my shopping done, and almost everything wrapped. The kids are going to all be out of town so I am not even having to stress over planning a menu. WOW I don’t know what to do with myself!! That is where this blog post came from, looking for something to do. Seriously I have really wanted to do the homemade seasonings for a while. I make my own taco seasoning, I have just never written it down or taken pictures of it. So when I decided to make a dish that included my Italian dressing I grabbed my camera real quick so I wouldn’t forget.
I am in no way saying that using the packaged version is bad. It is all a matter of preference. I just like the challenge of making it my own way. Plus if you make it yourself, you can always change things up to suit your tastes.
Homemade Italian Salad Dressing
makes 1 cup of mix
2 tablespoons dried Oregano
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
To make the salad dressing combine 2 tablespoons of the dry mix with 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons water. Shake to combine and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before using. 

Cranberry Relish with Orange and Jalapeno

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Happy Tinsel Tuesday my friends. As the days tick by and it gets closer and closer to the Holidays, these Tuesdays are so much fun for me. Not only do I get to share some of my favorite Holiday goodies, but many of my blogger friends share theirs on my Facebook page. So make sure to stop by my page today and check out the wonderful things they share!
I changed up this relish a bit this year. My Grandmother used to make this relish every year, and even though I love her recipe and the relish tastes fantastic, I had to tinker with it a bit. A) Because we love all things spicy and it just sounded good to have the tartness mixed with a bit of heat, and B)you guys know by now that it is painfully hard for me to NOT mess with a recipe!
So like I said, my Grandmothers recipe is fantastic and if you don’t like spice you are more than welcome to just omit the jalapeno. If you omit the jalapeno you can add a cinnamon stick to the recipe and just remove it before serving or storing the sauce. It won’t hurt my feelings and I am sure will have my Grandmother smiling down on you!

Cranberry Relish with Orange and Jalapeno
2 12-ounce bags of fresh cranberries (can sub frozen if necessary)
Zest of one orange, plus 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve at room temperature or cool and refrigerate. 

ENJOY!

Redneck Eggs Benedict

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When I came up with the idea for this dish, I knew from the start I wanted to call it Redneck Eggs Benedict. Why? Well because it just brought me back to my time living in the South, although I was concerned that the word “redneck” might offend some people. However, after speaking with many of my followers on Facebook and Twitter, and reflecting on my own experiences with the use of the word. I decided to go for it. I know in my mind, and the minds of the wonderful people I met in the South, redneck is not an insult, it is a way of life really. Rednecks work hard to provide for their families, they celebrate life, and put on no airs. They are who they are, plain and simple, take it or leave it. I respect that! I enjoyed my time in the South and honestly, life was much easier when you lived by those ideals. 
I love Eggs Benedict  It is probably one of my favorite breakfast foods right up there with frittatas, quiche, and a big plate of grits with cheese, bacon, and that yummy egg yolk from and over easy egg mixed in mmmmmm. I have had the “Seattle” version of Eggs Benedict with a salmon cake in place of the muffin, and I made salmon patties the other night, so my mind started mixing the two together. Salmon patties/cakes scream Southern to me, but I knew that I couldn’t use them in an Eggs Benedict because that is just classic to the Pacific Northwest. So where do I go? My little mind started thinking and thinking of the things that would really bring back my Southern experience. 

I decided to take the things I love about the South and then Eggs Benedict and BAM smoosh them together! 
OK list it off Bobbi…
If I can’t use salmon cakes then we will do potato cakes, yes yum. 
Sausage or bacon? Well the traditional is Canadian bacon so lets use some nice thick cut smoky bacon, OK this is getting good. 
Poached egg of course, nothing can beat a perfectly poached egg! 
What to top it with? I though of gravy at first. but I adore Hollandaise sauce. Hhhmmm how do I make Hollandaise fit in with my vision of this dish? Ahhhh I have it……hot sauce!!!! 
Most of the people I knew during my time in the South loved Tabasco on their eggs. It was something I had to learn and wasn’t a real fan of at first. Now I adore hot sauce or salsa on my eggs. In fact you would be hard pressed to find an egg on my plate without some heat to go with it now. So it just seemed a perfect idea to make a Hot Sauce Hallandaise, ya? With that my Redneck Eggs Benedict was born!!

Redneck Eggs Benedict 
For the Potato Cake:
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup flour (add more if needed to bind cakes)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, copped
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 green onions, greens only only chopped for garnish
For the Hot Hollandaise Sauce:
1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), cubed
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
Kosher salt and black pepper
Hot sauce (I used Franks Red Hot) to taste, I used 1 tablespoon
8 slices bacon
8 poached eggs (step by step instructions from Smitten Kitchen)
Paprika for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Rinse shredded potatoes in cold water and squeeze water out. Pat dry with paper towels. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add the onion, flour, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well. 
Spray a large skillet with non stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Form patties with the potato mixture and carefully place them in the heated skillet. Press down with spatula to make sure the patty is firm. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the patty is golden brown. Carefully turn the potato cake with a wide spatula and continue to cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the cakes and place them on a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
Cook bacon in the same skillet just shy of crisp. Place in oven with potato cakes to keep warm.
Poach eggs, place on paper towel while you prepare the Hollandaise.
Fill blender with hot water, set aside. Melt butter over medium heat until foaming, remove from heat. Drain blender and dry very well. Put egg yolks and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in blender, cover and blend to combine. Working quickly remove insert, and with blender running, add the butter in a thin stream of droplets, discarding milk solids in the bottom of the pan. Blend until a creamy sauce forms. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot sauce to taste. Serve immediately.
To put the dish together, lay two potato cakes on a plate. Rip the bacon slices in half and place the halves criss crossed on potato cake (1slice of bacon per cake). Top bacon with a poached eggs, and pour Hollandaise sauce over the top. Garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle of paprika.
ENJOY!!!

Avocado Hot Sauce

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There is a new Mexican place that just opened up in town. It has been packed since it opened. Although that in itself is not too surprising since we live in a very small town and people flock to anything new like they have never heard of it before! But this flocking is well deserved. It is called Blue Agave and they have some seriously good food. Coming from Southern California, and growing up on Mexican food, it is a nice combination of regular restaurant food and taco shop food (plus they have an awesome tequila bar BONUS!!). 
I have been there probably 4 times in the last couple of weeks and have gotten something different every time I go, but one thing has remained the same in every dish I have eaten. I have topped it with this amazing avocado hot sauce they have. After the last time I was determined to make it at home so I grabbed a little container of it and away I went into my kitchen to get down to the nuts and bolts of figuring out the recipe.

I have made hot sauce before. My Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja is a huge hit here, as well as my Guacamole. So I knew I had a good base to work from. But it had a specific taste that I really wanted to nail. A few little practice runs (which everyone enjoyed eating the product of) and I finally got it right. It was so funny. Everyone watched me as I took the top off of the food processor and got a spoonful. I think they may have been holding their breath waiting to see what I said. When I jumped up and down and did my happy foodie dance I think they figured out that I finally had my recipe.
I just love the look of this hot sauce. It looks so creamy and inviting. I seriously could eat a bowl of it with a spoon and want more! But seriously? Make a bowl of this, grab some chips and a cold beer, kick back and enjoy!
Avocado Hot Sauce
2 large ripe avocados, pits removed
4 to 6 jalapeno peppers (depending on the heat level you want), rib and seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
A generous handful of fresh cilantro 
2 limes, juiced
4 tablespoons white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste 
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, adjust seasoning if needed. Serve with your favorite Mexican dishes or just enjoy with chips. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.
ENJOY!!

This recipe was also share on Jagruti’s Cooking Oddysey’s  Super Foods Super Power Event

Tzatziki Sauce

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With the weather getting warmer (finally) in Western Washington my mind has been drifting to fresh clean flavors. One of the things I love about Greek food is the flavors and tzatziki sauce is one of my favorite things. The taste of fresh cucumber and dill with a little pop of garlic? Mmmm so good. So now I have been trying to come up with a few Greek inspired meals. One of those meals will be a Greek burger for #sundaysupper. If you don’t follow me on Twitter give me a quick follow and keep an eye on that hash tag this Sunday. You will find so many wonderful recipes, many of which get picked up for the top 9 on Foodbuzz. It is wonderful being included in such a terrific group of bloggers.
So today’s post is the sauce that is part of many a delicious Greek meal. Tzatziki sauce. This recipe couldn’t be simpler and is so flavorful. You can use it on burgers, chicken, sandwiches, or even just dip fresh vegetables in it for a snack. It is very healthy as well. It calls for Greek yogurt, but you can use regular yogurt if you can’t find Greek style. You just have to drain it first. Place it in a strainer lined with cheese cloth over a bowl and allow it to drain for a couple of hours to get as much liquid out of it as possible.

Gather your cast of characters. No that isn’t a weird cucumber, I just started peeling before I took the picture. I get carried away sometimes.
Oops don’t forget the lemon! 
Peel your cucumbers and scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
Cube it up and toss it in a colander with a little of salt so it can lose a little bit of that water weight. 
Now drop your skinny cucumber into the food processor.
Add your garlic, dill, lemon juice, and ground pepper to the party. 
The result? Some darn tasty sauce that you will want to dive right in to!!

Tzatziki Sauce
24-ounces of plain Greek yogurt
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped
Kosher salt
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Juice of one lemon
Cracked black pepper (to taste)
Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half. Using a spoon carefully scrape the seeds out. Chop the cucumbers and lace them in a colander, salt them and allow to sit for at least 30 mins to allow the cucumbers to release their liquid.
Add the drained cucumbers, garlic, dill, lemon juice, and black pepper to the food processor. Process until smooth. Stir cucumber mixture into the yogurt. Taste and adjust your salt and pepper if needed. Place in an airtight container and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Can be stored for up to 2 or 3 days. Should be used as quickly as possible because the cucumbers will give off more liquid and the sauce will separate.

Classic Pesto

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Last night was a very labor intensive meal, it took about 3 hours from start to finish. Ok, I will be honest, a lot of that was inactive cooking, but it sounded good didn’t it? I was just proud of myself that I actually planned a head and we weren’t eating dinner at 9 PM!

One part of the meal called for pesto. I love pesto, but have been disappointed in the store bought pesto that I have tried. I have wanted to make homemade pesto for quite some time but since Kevin has expressed a dislike for the green stuff I haven’t given it a shot. I finally decided I was going to make it anyway since I knew it freezes well. I figured I would just put some in my ice cube tray and that way when I wanted some pesto for a recipe I could just pop one and and be ready to go.

I have seen several different versions of pesto. I mean you can seriously make it with any herb you want depending on the flavor profile you want for your meal, but I wanted to make the classic pesto right down to the toasted pine nuts so that’s what I did.

The thing that takes the longest in this recipe is toasting the pine nuts, seriously! I was nervous about burning them because I have seen and heard so many stories about burning nuts when trying to toast them, and that it can happen in a split second. Nobody likes burned nuts so I hovered over them like my life depended on them coming out perfectly. Well maybe not my life but the recipe for sure since I only bought enough for one batch. I guess subconsciously I have a lot of faith in myself.

I was shocked when I finished the pesto and Kevin came out to taste it. Just that he tasted it was a shock, but the big shock was that he liked it! He said that it was way better than any other pesto he had tried and I have to agree with him. I will never buy store bought pesto again when it is so easy to make, tastes so much better, and you can freeze the leftovers for later use. A total win win recipe in my book!

Classic Pesto
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Toast pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant, tossing occasionally to ensure even toasting, about 5 minutes. Combine all of the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse, drizzle in the olive oil slowly until well combined but still rough-textured (You may not use all of the oil or you made need a bit more to get to the desired consistency). Spread on sandwiches or stir into pasta. Freeze leftovers

Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja

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I have been so busy working on Thanksgiving side dishes and coming up with what I want to bake that I decided to take a little break and make something out of the realm. I mean Thanksgiving is about football too right? Well for some of us it is and you can’t just eat leftovers, you need some good tasty munchies to go with those turkey sandwiches.

When I am planning munchie type foods I always fall back on my love of Mexican food. There is a little hole in the wall restaurant in Chula Vista, CA that I have been going to since I was about 15 years old. They have a hot sauce (salsa roja) that I just adore and miss soooooo much. So I decided to try my hand on making some of my own. Even though I didn’t nail their hot sauce just right, I did come up with a flavorful substitute that my family just loved. Well those of us that enjoy salsa loved it at least.

This recipe is a very easy one and can be changed around to suit your taste. Want more roasted tomato flavor and less heat? Subsitute a few more tomatoes for some of the Serrano peppers. Like it hotter? Add a few more Serannos or maybe use Jalapenos for that roasted pepper flavor with a bit less heat. Super simple and SUPER good!

Halve your tomatoes and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle them with kosher salt.
Cut the tops off of your Serrano peppers, halve your onions, and peel the outer skin aay from the garlic cloves. Scatter them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Cook at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes (until the peppers start to look charred and the tomatoes are slumping a bit)
Puree everything in a blender or use and immersion blender. You will have to work in a couple of batches.
The result, a creamy, roasted, spicy sauce perfect for chips or any of your Mexican favorites!
Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja
20 Roma tomatoes, halved
10 Serrano peppers, tops cut off
2 or 3 large onions, halved
10 large cloves of garlic, outer skin peeled but individual cloves still unpealed
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Scatter tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic cloves on two baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until the peppers look charred and the tomatoes are slumping up. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Remove the garlic from it’s skin and place it along with the tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro in a blender (you can use and immersion blender as well). Working in batches puree all of the ingredients until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in a container and refrigerate for at least an hour. The flavors will develop more the longer it sits. 
ENJOY!!

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Spiced Pumpkin Butter

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As the days continue to get cooler here, I get more and more into the “Fall feeling”. I am ready for soups and stews and chowders. But one thing was on my mind today for some reason…..pumpkin. Years and years ago I lived in a little town in North Carolina. I had moved from San Diego, CA to a two stop light town in the mountains of NC. It was a bit of culture shock but I learned things there I would have never learned in San Diego. I grew my own vegetables, canned, made pies, ate venison, and found my love for pumpkin butter.

I had always thought making apple butter or pumpkin butter was a difficult time consuming thing. But after reading a few recipes I realized I was mistaken and that in just a little under an hour I could be enjoying my much missed tasty treat. I just had to wait for the time to be right.

I woke up this morning with tons of energy (I have no idea why, I mean it is Sunday) and knew today was the day I wanted to make my pumpkin yumminess. I did the dishes (that my daughter was supposed to do last night), cleaned the kitchen, threw in a load of laundry, and then turned my attention to the task at hand. Searching through my pantry I thought I had everything I needed, until I began. AAHHH no brown sugar!!

See my daughter is a culinary student, and she is home on break right now. She LOVES to bake however, doesn’t always put things on the shopping list when she uses the last of them. THIS would be one of those instances. Not wanting to get out of my comfy sweats to drive all the way to town for a bag of brown sugar OK so I guess I didn’t have THAT much energy), I realized that brown sugar is really just regular sugar with molasses added. I knew I had molasses so I jumped online to search for the amount of molasses I needed to use. Question answered I was back on track.

Once this butter started to simmer the whole house smelled like spiced pumpkin. It made me feel like fall was here for sure!

Spiced Pumpkin Butter
Adapted from a recipe by Eat Yourself Skinny

1 can (29-ounce) pumpkin puree
3/4 cup apple juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used fresh ground nutmeg)
1/8 teaspoon allspice

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 45 mins, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

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